Vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently suggested that the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) regulations be amended so that presidents who are also KMT members could automatically double as party chairperson, sources say.
Prompted by recent policies introduced by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that proved controversial, some within the party have suggested that Ma — who also serves as KMT chairman — separates party and politics so he can concentrate more on governance.
Wu, and to an extent, Ma, do not seem to agree, the sources said.
After stepping down as party chairperson in 2007 while under investigation for allegedly misusing his mayoral special allowance during his two terms as Taipei mayor, Ma was re-elected as KMT chairperson in July 2009.
Under KMT regulations Ma can hold the position for four years and be re-elected once. The next chairmanship election is due next year.
Ma’s bid for another term as party chairperson would not be hampered by the fact that he had stepped down from the position in 2007, sources said.
The party’s regulations make no mention of a situation in which the state president is a KMT member and whether he or she should also serve as KMT chairperson.
Article 17 of the KMT’s standing party regulations only says that there should be one KMT chairperson, elected into office by all party members and that the chairmanship election should be held three months prior to the national congress held on the year the term of office expires.
If Ma accepts Wu’s suggestion, the party regulations would have to be amended, otherwise the party chairperson would be subject to quadrennial elections, sources said.
Since any amendment of the party regulations has to be submitted to and passed by the KMT national congress, the earliest such an amendment could be proposed would be in the latter half of this year, the source said.
According to party sources, Wu’s proposal may aim to solidify party central command during Ma’s second presidential term, delaying a lame duck effect while also ridding the party of squabbling over who would become the next chairperson or “designated successors” in the post-Ma era.
However, some KMT heavyweights are opposed to such a proposal because they feel there are suitable candidates to be party chairperson and remove “the burden from Ma’s shoulders.”
Sources say some have put forward Vice President Vincent Siew’s (蕭萬長) name as a possible interim candidate who would prevent others aspiring to party leadership from competing and upsetting the party’s power balance.
Siew will leave office before the May 20th inaugural ceremony when Ma will be sworn in for his second-term and Wu becomes vice president.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer