Ma to set up campaign office for re-election bid

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Mon, May 27, 2013 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is to set up a campaign office as part of his bid to seek re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman during the party congress in July, and is to take a leave from the chairmanship while campaigning.

Ma’s four-year term as KMT chairman is due to end this year.

He has expressed his intention to seek re-election amid growing challenges to his leadership due to his low approval rating as president.

Currently, his only competition is KMT Central Standing Committee member Hsieh Kun-hung (謝坤宏).

The KMT’s Organization and Development Committee said that as the KMT chairman, Ma would maintain a neutral stance and would take leave from the position during his campaign. Party affairs workers would not be able to join his campaign, it added.

As Ma prepares for the polls, his leadership of the party faces continued challenges.

The party’s 567 Youth Alliance, formed by a group of younger KMT members who are close to former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), urged Ma to reconsider his re-election bid.

In a written statement, the group said Ma should focus his attention on the presidency.

Group organizer Lee Fu-chuan (李福軒) said the group was concerned about the party’s performance in next year’s seven-in-one elections, and said it would ask the president to promise to boost the party’s performance in the polls.

“It would boost the party’s morale if President Ma promised to maintain the party’s performance in local elections next year,” he said.

Former alliance chief Chang Shi-gang (張斯綱) said the party should respect diversity within the party and listen to different voices.

Lee said that once the chairman election campaign begins, the alliance would formally ask Ma to offer a response. The KMT is set to announce the election date on Wednesday next week.

Those who want to run in the election can pick up registration forms on June 10 and June 11, and collect signatures of support between June 11 and June 20. Formal registration for candidacy is set for June 20 and June 21.

KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) declined to comment on the alliance’s request, and said the party would handle the chairman election in accordance with party regulations.