KMT postpones election and bans campaign meetings

POLL PULLED: To place a priority on relief efforts, the poll for central party members was put back to Aug. 22 and candidates were told 'no canvassing'

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday postponed its election for central party members until Aug. 22 and banned candidates from engaging in campaign activities after Typhoon Morakot left a trail of destruction in central, southern and eastern parts of the country.

Outgoing KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) called a meeting yesterday morning and decided to place a priority on relief efforts.

Wu said the upcoming election was an internal party affair and that only about 1,000 members were eligible to vote. He told the 300 candidates to refrain from attending gatherings to canvas support for their election bids. They would, however, be allowed to distribute campaign messages via text messages, phone calls and the mail, he said.

To offer assistance to the areas affected by Morakot, Wu urged all party members to use their contacts and resources for relief and reconstruction efforts, including offering financial support and helping out in person.

Wu donated NT$2 million (US$62,500) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) gave NT$1 million to a special account for relief efforts that the party set up yesterday morning.

The party also launched a fund-raising campaign to purchase food, water and other essential daily items for victims of the typhoon. KMT party headquarters and local chapters would recruit volunteers to help with the government’s clean up and relief efforts, Wu said.

Wu encouraged the public to donate money, goods and materials to their local party chapter in the hardest hit areas, including Kaohsiung County, Kaohsiung City, Tainan County, Tainan City, Pingtung County, Chiayi County, Chiayi City, Yunlin County, Nantou County and Taitung County.

The party also urged the legislature to support any possible additional budget the government may request for disaster relief, Wu said.

The decisions were made after KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) made similar proposals during the meeting presided over by Wu Poh-hsiung.

He proposed that the party ask its local chapters to waste no time in purchasing food, water and essential items and to distribute them to families in need. He advised the party to establish a volunteer team to help the government’s relief, rebuilding and clean-up projects. He also recommended party legislators donate money and that the party caucus support any central government request for additional funds.