The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it has decided to delay its 19th party congress, which was to begin on Sunday, due to civic groups’ plans to hold a rally against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the same day outside the congress’ venue.
In an impromptu press conference, KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said that the venue for the meeting, the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, is a popular tourist destination, so the event had been canceled to avoid any possible confrontations involving demonstrators that could hurt passersby.
“The KMT is the ruling party, and as such has a responsibility to protect the public and defend people’s rights, which is why we decided to delay the congress,” Tseng said at the KMT headquarters.
The KMT had said last week that it would not change the date of the congress because of the anti-Ma demonstrations.
The party had been set to approve Ma’s re-election as KMT chairman at the congress, which was meant to serve as an occasion to strengthen party unity ahead of the seven-in-one local elections next year.
Tseng said that after discussing the various rallies and protests planned for Sunday with the party, the Taipei City Police Department had suggested that the congress be held at another location since it would be a challenge to maintain security at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Several civil groups joined forces with the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories to plan a demonstration outside the memorial on Sunday against the Ma administration.
Another anti-Ma protest planned for the same day and also organized by civil groups is to see demonstrators march from the intersection of Renai and Anhe roads, before converging at a rally on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building.
“The KMT absolutely respects all legal rallies, but we are also worried about possible accidents… The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is open to the public on Sunday and the safety of nearby businesses and residents is our main concern,” Tseng said.
The party is considering holding the congress at Chungshan Hall on Yangmingshan on Oct. 26, since the venue is far from downtown Taipei, which should make it easier to keep protesters at a distance.
However, the new date has yet to be confirmed as many KMT officials are scheduled to fly to China to attend a forum between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party.
The party’s annual summit has been the subject of increased public focus amid the ongoing political battle between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), whose invitation to the congress was rescinded after the KMT revoked his party membership over alleged improper lobbying.
Responding to the cancelation, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that avoiding the protests by rescheduling would not solve any problems.
“The congress is supposed to be the KMT’s business. However, protests were organized for people to voice their opinions on Ma’s poor governance. As the ruling party, the KMT should respond to the public’s complaints,” Su said.
Su also endorsed the DPP’s boycott of a report that was to be delivered by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to the Legislative Yuan and said that the DPP’s act would not suspend the legislature’s operation.
“However, Jiang should adhere to the constitutional principle of separation of powers,” he added.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that