President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promised to nominate candidates for elections with integrity and train more younger members to run for office if elected as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman.
“All party nominees should have integrity and ideals, and should be hardworking and put the people’s needs as priority,” Ma said. “The KMT should also step up efforts to cultivate more young people and allow younger members to run for elections.”
Ma made the remarks yesterday at a rally in Yunlin County as part of his campaign for the KMT chairmanship. Ma is the sole candidate in the KMT chairmanship election scheduled for July 26.
In his speech, Ma also promised to strengthen reform efforts to improve the party’s reputation. In particular, the KMT must make clean politics its most important core value to renew its image and remember the importance of integrity, he said.
Among the several hundred members at the rally was Yunlin legislative by-election hopeful Chang Hui-yuan (張輝元), who is the father of former KMT legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文).
Chang Hui-yuan, director of Yunlin’s Irrigation Association, on Friday registered his candidacy in the KMT primary for the by-election seeking to continue his son’s term.
Chang Sho-wen lost his legislative seat earlier this month after the High Court found him guilty of participating in a vote-buying scheme organized by his father. The court annulled the election result.
Chang Hui-yuan, who was found guilty in the vote-buying case in the first trial, expressed his determination to run for the by-election, but declined to comment on Ma’s remarks when asked whether the president was referring to him when he spoke about integrity of candidates.
Another hopeful Wu Wei-chi (吳威志), an associate professor at Yunlin Technology University, said he would respect the party’s final decision on the candidate for the by-election.
The KMT will have to determine whether Chang Hui-yuan is qualified to be a party candidate because the revised version of the KMT’s “black gold exclusion clause” (排黑條款) states that members who are found guilty of corruption in their first trial are not to be nominated for any elections.
KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) said the party would continue negotiating with the two hopefuls to choose the candidate, adding that Ma was unlikely to participate in the negotiation process.
While addressing the rally in Yunlin County yesterday, Ma also unveiled the government’s plan to establish a “gold corridor” in the Chiayi and Tainan areas that will be dedicated to agricultural innovations.
Ma said the project, which will cost tens of billions of NT dollars, will be part of the government’s efforts to develop sophisticated agriculture in the southern region.
In a package approved by the Cabinet in May, the government detailed plans to spend NT$24.2 billion (US$737 million) over the next four years to develop a sophisticated agriculture industry in the country under three major themes — healthy agriculture, excellent agriculture and lifestyles of health and sustainability or LOHAS agriculture.
Ma gave eight platform presentation meetings in central Taiwan yesterday, and will visit Penghu, Matsu and Kinmen today for his chairman election bid.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA