Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 3 News List

KMT legislators voice discontent

‘THIS IS LUDICROUS’ Lawmakers did not take kindly to a request by the vice legislative speaker that they help Ma Ying-jeou garner enough signatures for his chairmanship bid

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) announcement last week that he would run for the chairmanship of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), a number of KMT legislators yesterday expressed concerns about having to garner signatures from party members to support the president.

The lawmakers expressed discontent after Vice Legislative Speaker Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said on Saturday he would seek assistance from every KMT legislator to help the president meet the signature threshold for the bid.

In accordance with KMT regulations, Ma must garner a minimum of 15,000 signatures for his bid to be valid.

“This is ludicrous. A person’s loyalty has nothing to do with the amount of time one spends seeking endorsements [from party members for the president],” KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) told reporters. “Frankly speaking, I am under a lot of pressure to garner signatures, especially so because I am a legislator-at-large. Where am I going to find party members to endorse the bid?”

Lo said the president should instead win the support of KMT members by proposing good policies.

KMT Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) said some of his colleagues could take advantage of this opportunity to fawn on Ma.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) also criticized the requirement, saying it felt like the president controlled the Legislative Yuan.

“He’s demanding absolute obedience from the legislature, which goes against democratic principles,” Chiu said.

Registration for the election opens today and the election is scheduled for July 26.

Tseng, who said he would head Ma’s campaign office, is scheduled to collect the registration form on behalf of Ma today.

Tseng said the president would not require party lawmakers to boost the number of signatures.

KMT legislators Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), Liu Shen-liang (劉盛良) and John Wu (吳志揚) — the son of KMT Chairman Wu Poh-shiung (吳伯雄) — have all promised to help Ma pass the signature threshold, but denied they would use the opportunity to showcase their loyalty to the president.

Meanwhile, ­Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) dismissed media speculation yesterday that Ma would attempt to extend his influence at the legislature by naming Wang a vice KMT chairman.

“President Ma is not yet chairman, so there is no need to worry about this,” Wang said.

“Wu [Poh-hsiung] is on friendly terms with me. He never tried to affect my decisions,” he said.

KMT caucus deputy ­secretary-general Hsiao Ching-tien (蕭景田) said he had reservations about Wang serving as a vice party chairman.

“This would influence his neutrality when he convenes cross-party negotiations,” Hsiao said.

“The KMT occupies the majority [of legislative seats]. If the legislature is to remain objective, shouldn’t the speaker be free of party influence?”

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