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KMT rule adjustment sparks criticism

KMT rule adjustment sparks criticism

The decision by the Kuomintang to revoke a party regulation that would have prevented KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) from running for the presidency in 2008 has drawn considerable criticism from KMT members and from the Democratic Progressive Party.
Under party regulations, any KMT member who is indicted has his party membership suspended, which is what should have happened to Ma after he was indicted on Tuesday on charges of embezzling part of the special allowance that he received as Taipei mayor.
Without party membership, Ma would not have been eligible to compete in the KMT primary for the presidency.
But hours after Ma resigned as KMT chairman and announced that he would run for the presidency in 2008 on Tuesday afternoon, the KMT Central Standing Committee decided during an emergency meeting to revoke the punitive clause.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who attended the extraordinary meeting, opposed revoking the clause even though he hoped Ma would stay on as party chairman. Hu argued that amending the clause so soon after the indictment was handed down would cast Ma in a negative light.
He said he believed Ma would not have wanted the issue to have even been discussed at the meeting to avoid giving the appearance that the issue was being addressed to help Ma escape his predicament.
KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said that although dropping the clause had its positive side, he believed the possibility of a negative backlash could not be overlooked.
The clause was originally instituted as part of the KMT's effort to portray itself as a clean party that was leaving behind its corrupt past.
KMT Legislator Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳), who is close to another KMT presidential hopeful, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), felt the step served little purpose.
"Since more than 60 percent of the country's people believe in Chairman Ma's innocence, is there really a compelling need to have the clause removed?" she asked.
Revoking the clause also raised the issue of fairness for those members who had already been suspended after being indicted.
Juan Kang-meng (阮剛猛), chairman of the KMT's Evaluation and Discipline Committee, said the membership of Hsinchu County Magistrate Cheng Yung-ching and Legislator Chang Chang-tsai, both of whom had violated the clause, would be reinstated.
Chang said, however, that while he appreciated the party's good will, but indicated that it came too late.
DPP legislators described the KMT's regulation change as "outrageous" and "shameless."
DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the move was made to get Ma off the hook and characterized it as one of the ugliest political shows ever staged by the opposition party.
DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni, one of the lawmakers who raised the allegations that led to Ma's indictment, criticized the KMT for hypocrisy in accusing the judicial system of engaging in political persecution against Ma while opening the door to corruption for his sake.
Meanwhile, DPP legislators Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲) and Lin Kuo-ching called on former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) to stand up and counter the KMT's action.


Updated : 2021-09-21 11:27 GMT+08:00