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May 29, 2017

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Wang to run for KMT chairmanship

Wang Jin-pyng, president of the Legislative Yuan, declared candidacy for Kuomintang chairman yesterday, pledging he isn't seeking a stakeout for the presidential election of 2008.

He made the announcement at a jam-packed press meeting at Taipei Sheraton Hotel, which doubled as a party to celebrate his 65th birthday.

"I want to run for the job, which is to get the Kuomintang back in power (in 2008)," Wang declared. "A chairman is to help the party win, not to run for, the presidency," he promised.

The opposition Kuomintang is scheduled to elect a new chairman on July 26. Delegates to its national party congress will be elected at the same time.

Lien Chan steps down as chairman of the Kuomintang when the party congress meets in August, and whoever succeeds him is considered the most hopeful standard bearer in the 2008 election.

A vice chairman of the party, Wang is favored to win the July 26 election, if the Kuomintang decides to let all card-carrying members vote in a new leader.

Should only those members with their dues paid be allowed to vote, Mayor of Taipei Ma Ying-jeou would have a winning edge. Most of them are Chinese-born elder members, who tend to support the mainlander mayor.

Only 300,000 of the 10.8 million Kuomintang members would be qualified to elect their chairman, if the party central should decide the payment of dues as the precondition for eligibility. Wang, the native-born islander, has the support of most of the remaining 780,000 members with their dues in arrears.

That decision will be taken by next Wednesday.

Ma, who declared candidacy on February 14, said he hopes to meet Wang in a "gentlemen's race."

His two top supporters, Wu Yu-sheng and Lai Shih-pao, attended the Sheraton meeting and offered congratulations on behalf of the mayor. Both Wu and Lai are members of the Legislative Yuan.

The mayor sent flowers and a birth cake.

Like Wang, Ma doubles as a vice chairman of the Kuomintang.

"What we both want," Ma said, "is a swift party reform and solidarity. I wish him many more happy returns and good luck."

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