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President Ma calls for KMT unity on presidential candidate issue

2015/10/07 20:30:39

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 7 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Wednesday that he hopes Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) will talk with the party's presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) 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 (蔡英文) 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.

(By Claudia Liu, Hsieh Chia-chen and S.C. Chang)
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