A group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has indicated he plans to seek re-election as KMT chairman next month, to pledge to give up the party post if the KMT fares poorly in next year’s seven-in-one elections.
KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said Ma should announce concrete goals for the party to achieve in the elections and shoulder responsibility and step down if he fails to bring those goals to fruition.
KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said he respected Ma’s intention to seek another term as chairman, but added that it would be a matter of course for Ma to resign from the chairmanship if the party performs poorly in the elections.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), who voiced her opposition to Ma’s re-election bid several times, said if the president insists on running, he should at least make it clear what he would do if he fails to lead the party to victory in next year’s polls.
The seven-in-one elections will encompass polls for all directly elected local government positions: special municipality mayors and councilors; county commissioners; city mayors; county and city councilors; township mayors and councilors; and borough and village wardens.
In related news, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday denied that he would replace Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien (王建煊) next year as part of Ma’s pre-election personnel arrangements.
According to the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Tapei Times’ sister newspaper) the idea is to prevent Hu from either seeking re-election or challenging Ma’s KMT re-election bid at the party congress, which is scheduled to open on July 20.
If Hu took the Control Yuan job next year, he would not interfere with KMT affairs or hinder the party’s attempt to integrate local factions in Greater Taichung ahead of the mayoral election, the story said.
Hu said he does not plan to take over the Control Yuan post and is focusing on his current duties.
Asked if he would accept such a job offer, Hu said he had respect for Wang and described the job rumor as “Chapter 1002 of the Arabian Nights.”
He also said he fully supported Ma’s re-election bid.
Hu has served as Taichung mayor since 2001. Once a member of the so-called “Ma-Li-Chiang” (馬立強, “high horsepower”) trio of KMT stars alongside Ma and New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Hu’s career appears to have faltered because of his health problems and poor performance in improving Taichung’s public safety record.
Some within the pan-blue camp reacted to the Liberty Times story by saying Hu should have been appointed to a central government post long ago. Others voiced concerns about the KMT’s chances in the next mayoral election and said the job switch would be a “smart move.”
Ma is also allegedly arranging for Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) to run in Keelung amid concerns about Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong’s (張通榮) poor approval ratings.
However, the KMT dismissed the reports about job arrangements and said it had to make more assessments before finalizing its candidates for next year’s elections.
Additional reporting by Kang Tsai-hsin