Pres­i­dent Ma calls for KMT unity over pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is­sue

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou ( ) said Wed­nes­day that he hopes Kuom­intang ( KMT) Chair­man Eric Chu ( ) will talk with the party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu ( ) and keep the party united, as cru­cial elec­tions are just 100 days away.

Ma made the com­ment af­ter the KMT’s Cen­tral Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (CSC, ) ear­lier in the day passed a res­o­lu­tion to hold a spe­cial meet­ing, pos­si­bly to name a re­place­ment for Hung, who has been trail­ing the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party can­di­date Tsai Ing-wen ( ) by a wide mar­gin in the polls.

Hung re­sponded to the res­o­lu­tion with a strongly worded state­ment, say­ing that the KMT top brass’ ef­forts to force her out of the race lacked le­git­i­macy and warn­ing that the CSC res­o­lu­tion could put the whole party in a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion.

Sens­ing a cri­sis of a di­vided KMT suf­fer­ing another crush­ing de­feat in the wake of last Novem­ber’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, Ma said the party must show con­fi­dence and forge unity among all its mem­bers.

Ac­cord­ing to a Pres­i­den­tial Of­fice spokesman, Ma said the CSC’s de­ci­sion to hold a spe­cial na­tional congress was aimed at “forg­ing con­sen­sus and unit­ing all mem­bers to win the elec­tions” — a goal that he fully sup­ports.

There­fore, said the spokesman, the pres­i­dent urged Chu to have a frank dis­cus­sion with Hung and con­vince other party mem­bers of the need to show unity at this crit­i­cal time — 100 days away from the coun­try’s pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive elec­tions.

The spokesman also de­nied media re­ports that Ma and his wife Chow Mei-ching ( ) had played a role in the KMT’s ap­par­ent plan to change its pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee at the last minute.

“Such re­ports are to­tally ground­less. The Pres­i­den­tial Of­fice strongly re­jects those ir­re­spon­si­ble re­ports,” said the spokesman.

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