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KMT Legislator Chen Shei-saint announces bid for party chair

2016/01/25 18:19:53

Legislator Chen Shei-saint. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖), a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang, announced on Monday that he plans to run for the chairmanship of his party, which has suffered big losses in Taiwan's last two nationwide elections.

Chen said there were three reasons behind his decision to join the race.

First, as one of the few mid-generation KMT members who survived the Jan. 16 legislative elections (pending a recount of the vote in his electoral district), he said he could not keep silent and sit idly by.

Second, he said the KMT needed to identify the reason behind its failure, and he was running to recover the voices and strength that were lost.

Lastly, he said, his participation in the race represented the beginning of change in the KMT, which should abide by a bottom-up democratic mechanism.

He promised that if elected, he would push for a revision to the KMT's charter to lower the threshold for those interested in running for party chairman.

The KMT chairmanship election is scheduled for March 26.

The post became vacant after New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), who was the KMT's presidential candidate in the Jan. 16 elections, resigned to assume responsibility for the party's major defeat.

Besides losing the presidency, the KMT also lost its absolute majority in the Legislature, winning only 35 of the 113 seats.

That followed an embarrassing showing in the November 2014 local elections in which the number of KMT-controlled cities and counties fell from 15 to six.

In addition to Chen, Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) have also indicated their intention to run for the post.

Also Monday, New Party Chairman Yuk Mu-ming (郁慕明) said on his Facebook page that his party's national committee has decided to recommend him to run for the KMT chairmanship.

Yuk said the matter involves more than whether he has KMT membership or not but has deeper meaning.

In response, KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) said that according to the KMT's existing system, Yuk was ineligible to run for the KMT chairmanship but stressed that Yuk was welcome to bring the New Party back to the KMT.

The New Party was founded by a group of KMT breakaways.

According to KMT rules, only KMT members who have served on the party's Central Committee or Central Advisory Council are eligible to run for the post of chairman.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Tang Pei-chun and Y.F. Low)