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Ma denies forcing withdrawal from KMT presidential primary

Ma denies forcing withdrawal from KMT presidential primary

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (???) denies a report he forced a candidate to withdraw from the ruling Kuomintang's primary for the 2016 presidential race through a third party, Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen said on Sunday.
In response to a Liberty Times report claiming that Ma demanded Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-ping (???) withdraw from the presidential primary through a Presidential Office vice secretary-general "in private," Chen said Ma denied such speculation and asked the media to verify its facts before publishing rumor and conjecture as news.
Despite Ma's denials, the Liberty Times piece is the latest in a string of media reports suggesting that the president has tried to intervene in the party's presidential primary to boycott any presidential bid by Wang.
Ma and Wang, speaker since 1999, are reputed to have had strained relations for many years.
A day before the deadline for party members to register for the presidential primary on Saturday, Wang indicated that he would not seek the KMT nomination.
As to whether Ma last year sought to pressure incumbent KMT Chairman Eric Chu (???), who is also mayor of New Taipei and has repeatedly said he will serve out his mayoral term, to stand in the upcoming presidential election, Chen said "no such thing ever happened." Chen said that despite the president's obvious interest in who will represent the KMT in the presidential election, Ma has the utmost respect for the party primary system. Polls indicate that Chu and Wang are the KMT's most popular candidates to run against the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate, chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (???).
Currently, only Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (???), former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (???) and Huang Po-shou (???), chief secretary of Dayuan Township in Taoyuan County, have picked up a registration form.
Candidates are required to register for the KMT primary on May 17 or 18. A national party convention will formally pick the party's presidential nominee on July 19.
(By Claudia Liu and Flor Wang)


Updated : 2021-09-17 09:24 GMT+08:00