Little opposition as KMT vets legislator-at-large list

PROFESSIONALS: Facing accusations that the nomination process was nothing more than an 'under-the-table' deal and a 'scam,' KMT heavyweights appealed for party unity

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) central committee yesterday approved the party's legislator-at-large candidate list despite challenges by some members over the nomination mechanism.

Although some members had threatened to veto the list before the committee convened, all 34 candidates won approval, with KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) topping the list with 191 approval votes from the 214 committee members, followed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

Of the top 18 candidates on the list, deputy commissioner of the KMT's policy committee Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) garnered the most disapproval votes, with 56, followed by KMT Legislator Chen Chieh (陳杰).

Candidates are disqualified if they receive more than 108 disapproval votes.

Before voting, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and committee member Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡) both expressed their disapproval at the party's decision not to list former dean of Chi Mei Hospital Steve Chan (詹啟賢), now a top aide of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

"Professionals and people of good repute should be on the list," Chiang Fang said.

Facing accusations by some party members and the pan-green camp that the nomination process was an "under-the-table deal" and a "scam," party heavyweights yesterday called for party unity to win the legislative and presidential elections next year.

"The legislative election is extremely important. If the KMT fails to win a majority in the legislature, it will be difficult to promote any policies -- even if I was elected president," Ma said yesterday while addressing the committee at KMT headquarters.

Ma said he would spare no efforts campaigning for legislative candidates in the next two months and urged all members to join hands at such a crucial time.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) promised the nomination process was fair and asked members to accept the final decision.

"Every candidate on the list is outstanding. Some members have different views [on the outcome], but as a democratic party, we respect their voices," Wang said.

KMT central standing committee member Yao Chiang-lin (姚江臨) and central committee member Lee Mao-rong (李茂榮), however, continued to challenge the nomination process, with Lee suggesting that the party should decide the list through a vote.

KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) said the central standing committee would consider Lee's proposal.

Outside headquarters, KMT Legislator Lee Sen-zong (李顯榮), who lost the party's nomination in Taipei County's first district to KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), protested the party's failure to pursue localization and burned his party membership card to show his determination to run in the January legislative elections.

"Ma didn't dare delete references to the `1992 consensus' in the party Charter. His so-called connection to Taiwan is nothing but a lie to attract more votes," Lee said, while declining to confirm whether he would join the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In response, Wu Yu-sheng yesterday asked Lee not to put on a show.

"Lee agreed to withdraw from the legislative primaries in April. The KMT nominated him and helped him win a seat in the legislature for five terms. The party has treated him very well," Wu said.

If Lee burned his KMT membership card simply because we did not nominate him, the DPP should be careful about his loyalty if he joined their party, he said.