Tue, Jul 26, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT whip Liao demands higher-ranking counterpart

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) has demanded that he be paired with a higher-ranking counterpart within the party with whom he would hold discussions on decisions regarding policy and legislation.

Liao said he was seated next to the KMT Central Policy Committee deputy director at a recent party meeting, adding that he has told KMT Secretary-General Mo Tien-hu (莫天虎) that his counterpart for discussing the party’s direction on policy and legislation should have a higher rank than the Central Policy Committee director, otherwise it would signify that the party is downplaying the significance of the whip’s position within the party.

Liao’s election on July 7 as the KMT’s legislative caucus whip was the result of a power play within the party, in which legislators hoped to highlight the caucus’ importance, asking to directly elect the Central Policy Committee director.

KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) denied the request, reportedly saying: “The caucus whip is of course the director of the Central Policy Committee,” forcing the legislators to settle for only electing the whip, while the whip’s powers and those of the Central Policy Committee director were disassociated.

Under the KMT’s Central Standing Committee structure, the Central Policy Committee director’s status is second only to that of the party secretary-general, automatically making the director the caucus whip.

Seeking to further disassociate the whip and the Central Policy Committee director, KMT lawmakers said the Legislative Yuan should be considered the primary battlefield, and as the caucus whip represents the public will behind the party, the whip should be afforded a status within the party equal to their significance.

Mo said the party understands Liao’s concerns and it was the party’s original intention to meet with Liao and discuss how the party and the caucus would work together.

The party headquarters is considering the establishment of a group, including the deputy party chairwoman, the secretary-general and the Central Policy Committee director, to directly discuss matters with the caucus whip, Mo said.

However, Mo said that despite agreement to set up a channel of discussion being between the party’s higher-ups and the caucus whip, the caucus should not entertain thoughts of cutting out the party altogether.

“Without the KMT, there would be no KMT legislative caucus,” Mo said. Liao expressed his agreement with Mo’s opinion.

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