President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) bid to be re-elected as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman proceeded smoothly as he collected more than 10,000 signatures from party members ahead of the signature drive deadline on June 20.
Ma’s chairman re-election campaign office spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said signature drives for the president had collected 10,000 signatures from party members as of Friday, but the campaign office will continue collecting signatures until the deadline on June 20.
The KMT’s election regulations require signatures from 3 percent of party members with voting rights, currently at least 11,200 members, to become a candidate in the election.
Ma had collected more than 90,000 signatures when running in the chairmanship election in 2009. Whether he will collect as many signatures for his re-election bid appears uncertain amid continuous challenges from within the party over his bid due to his low approval ratings as president.
KMT lawmakers including Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), as well as younger members from the party, have urged Ma to pledge to give up the party post if the KMT fares poorly in next year’s seven-in-one elections.
Yang said the campaign has set up offices in cities and counties across the nation to consolidate local support for Ma’s re-election bid. As the signature drives continued, the offices were also preparing for campaign activities.
Ma will formally register his candidacy on June 20, and take leave from his post as KMT chairman to start campaigning for his bid, he said.
Ma’s only competitor, KMT Central Standing Committee member Hsieh Kun-hung (謝坤宏), said yesterday that he was close to passing the signature threshold.
“I hope that my decision to run in the chairman election will encourage the party’s younger generations, so that more new blood will join the KMT,” he said.
According to the KMT’s regulations, formal registration for candidacy is set for June 20 and June 21. The KMT chairmanship election will be held during the party’s congress on July 20.