The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday dismissed media reports which alleged that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) cited the US constitution to justify his eligibility to be re-elected as KMT chairman.
A report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) yesterday alleged that Ma, in a closed-door meeting with top aides following a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday, cited a 1951 amendment to the US constitution that: “No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice and no person who has held the office of president, or acted as president, for more than two years of a [four-year] term … shall be elected to the office of the president more than once.”
Ma allegedly said that since he did not serve more than half of his first four-year term due to a corruption case, and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) was chosen to serve out the remainder of that term in 2007, his first tenure as KMT chairman should be counted as between 2009 and this year.
The aides agreed that such argument could put an end to the disputes over the issue, the Liberty Times article said.
A report published on Wednesday by the Chinese-language United Daily News made a similar allegation, but was also dismissed by the KMT.
KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) yesterday again dismissed the allegation and said that Ma never held a closed-door meeting with top aides following Tuesday’s meeting, and that he did not cite the US constitution when discussing the issue.
“There have been a lot of discussions and opinions on the issue, and there were some discussions among party members on the US constitution reference after an academic raised the topic in a letter to a local news outlet,” Wei said.
“However, President Ma did not make any comments on the issue in order to avoid any conflict of interest,” he added.
Amid the ongoing disputes over Ma’s re-election bid, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday voiced his support for Ma to serve as party chairman denying that he was against Ma’s attempt to be re-elected.
“I’ve always been a supporter of the party-state system. I’ve not been involved in handling party affairs and it will be the KMT’s job to clarify the issue. My priority is to do my job in the legislature,” Wang said.