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Wang declines to join Ma on KMT ticket

Legislative speaker says he wants to help stabilize Taiwan by staying in Legislature

Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the opposition Kuomintang's candidate for the 2008 presidential election, yesterday said he was disappointed that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) chose not to accept his offer to serve as his running mate, but said he is willing to give his support to Wang to serve another term as head of the Legislature.
"I'm disappointed," Ma said. "I'll have to look for another partner who is complementary to me and can help win the election."
He said that Wang had however given a guarantee to work with him to help win the 2008 presidential election.
Ma made the remarks after the two met earlier the same day to discuss the possibility of cooperating.
After the meeting, Wang told the media that he had politely turned down Ma's offer but stressed their cooperation in the future as well as unity within the party was still important.
Wang said he rejected the offer because he wants to stay in the Legislature.
He said that if he decided to run on the ticket with Ma, his role as legislative speaker would be affected and compromised, which would not helpful to settling the major legislative controversies in the country and would serve to exacerbate the political wrangling between the rival parties.
Therefore, he said, he chose to remain the neutral head of the Legislature in order to help to stabilize the country.
Wang said that as Ma wanted a definite answer before the end of May, he had to reject Ma's offer.
"Though there is no Ma-Wang match, there will be cooperation between Ma and Wang," he said, indicating he won't run for president independently.
Wang told the media that he is willing to cooperate with Ma in the coming presidential race but could not decide at the moment whether to pair up with Ma on that presidential ticket because he feels that they have to come to terms first on certain key policy issues, such party assets and Ma's indictment on corruption charges.
Ma is currently facing a court trial on charges of misuse of a special monthly allowance paid to him during his tenure as Taipei City mayor from 1998 to 2006.
The governing Democratic Progressive Party has accused the KMT of acquiring a large percentage of its assets by dishonest means and has been striving to force the KMT to return the assets to the national coffers.
Wang said that during yesterday's meeting Ma was confident about how to handle the party assets issue, but was more restrained on the matter of the corruption charges.
During the meeting between Ma and Wang, KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) called in and suggested that the decision on the presidential ticket be put off for two weeks, but the suggestion was rejected by Ma.
Yesterday's development means that a Ma-Wang ticket is out of the question despite the fact that the KMT hoped the two men would team up to boost the party's chances of victory in next year's presidential election, analysts said.
"If Ma and Wang fail to be a match, Ma will have to find another candidate who is both Taiwanese and used to be based in southern Taiwan to help win votes," said Liu Bih-rong, a political science professor at Soochow University in Taipei, before the announcement. "If the KMT eventually loses the election, Wang would be blamed for this."
Ma leads the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), in an opinion poll, the Economic Daily News reported Monday.
Ma's support was 57.3 percent compared with 42.7 percent for Hsieh, the Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing its own survey.

Updated : 2022-01-20 17:00 GMT+08:00