As part of his bid to seek re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign office was launched in low-key style yesterday amid ongoing challenges over his leadership from within the party.
The campaign office on Zhongxiao E Road had been the campaign headquarters for Ma and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) when the pair ran in the presidential election last year.
Campaign office chief Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) yesterday led office staff to offer incense and prayers for Ma’s victory in the election, which is scheduled for July 20.
Ma visited Hualien County yesterday and did not attend the campaign office opening.
Chan said that Ma aimed to continue to reform the party and consolidate the KMT’s strength.
Chan called for party members to support Ma in the chairmanship election.
“KMT members should unite at such crucial moments, and support Chairman Ma to lead the party and the nation toward greater prosperity and stability,” he said.
Ma, who was first elected as KMT chairman in 2005, has met opposition from within the party over his re-election bid amid his low approval rating as president.
Last week, a group of KMT lawmakers including Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) urged Ma to pledge to give up the party post if the KMT fares poorly in next year’s seven-in-one elections.
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.
The lawmakers’ request echoed comments from the KMT’s 567 Youth Alliance, a group of younger KMT members who are close to former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文).
They expressed concern about the party’s performance in next year’s elections and urged Ma to reconsider his re-election bid and focus his efforts on the presidency.
Ma has dismissed the challenges and has insisted that government policies and party reform can be carried out more efficiently under the party-state mechanism.
Currently, his only competition for the chairmanship is KMT Central Standing Committee member Hsieh Kun-hung (謝坤宏).
According to the party’s regulations, members who wish to run in the election should collect registration forms tomorrow and Tuesday and collect signatures of support between Tuesday and June 20. Formal registration for candidacy is set for June 20 and June 21.