KMT mulling tying its chairmanship to presidential office

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee is willing to consider revising the party’s charter to automatically give the post of party chairman to the nation’s president if the KMT holds the presidency because this would allow the smooth integration of party and government policies, KMT Cultural and Communications Committee deputy head Yin Wei (殷瑋) said yesterday.

Yin’s comments followed reports by local media that soon after being re-elected as party chairman on Saturday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — who ran unopposed — moved to amend the KMT’s charter to bind the party chairmanship to the office of president.

The move would mean that if the KMT wins the presidential election in 2016, Ma would have to step down as party chairman to make way for the new president.

Sources within the party said that proposals to amend the charter can only be made during the party’s national congress, and since there was still a long way to go before the next convention, it is unlikely that the matter will be decided any time soon.

Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said he had always supported the idea that under a KMT government, the president should double as the party chairman to better integrate the policies of the party with those of the central government.

Commenting on the high percentage of the party electorate — close to 90 percent — that voted for Ma in the chairmanship election, Hu said the party should be encouraged by the KMT still being united behind the president despite the tough political climate.

Hu said he supported the amendment to the charter, adding that it would bring about greater efficiency in the central government, as well as benefitting both the nation and the party.

However, the Greater Taichung mayor also cautioned that the party should not let the euphoria of the KMT election go to its head.

Ma’s biggest problem since being sworn into office in 2008 has been his inability to raise his approval ratings among the public, Hu said, adding that the party still has a long way to go to win popular support.