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Ma seeks joint leadership of Kuomintang with Wang

Mayor of Taipei Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday he wishes to lead the opposition Kuomintang with Wang Jin-pyng, if he were elected its chairman.

Wang, president of the Legislative Yuan, is favored to win the election of the chairman scheduled for July 16.

In an exclusive interview with CTV talk show host Sisy Chen, the Chinese-born mayor declared a joint leadership with his rival whom he lauds as a "treasure" of the opposition party.

"We two complement each other," Ma told the host, who did not seek reelection after serving three years as a member of the Legislative Yuan until last January 31.

Asked what their relations would be after the July 16 election, Ma said: "If I were elected, I would like to have a joint leadership at the party central with him (Wang), who is a treasure of the Kuomintang and presides over the Legislative Yuan, where many of our party leaders sit."

Ma promised not to bring his staff to the party central, if he succeeded Lien Chan as Kuomintang chairman.

Lien is expected to step down at a Kuomintang national party congress slated to open on August 18.

"On the contrary," Ma said, "I'd keep his (Lien's) top aides on my staff, were I elected."

The mayor also sounded just as conciliatory when talking about relations between the Kuomintang and its one-time close ally People First Party.

James Soong, PFP chairman who has attained rapprochement with President Chen Shui-bian, dislikes the Taipei mayor, almost ten years his junior.

The first thing he would do after his successful bid for the Kuomintang chairmanship, Ma said, would be to coordinate campaign tactics with the PFP for the yearend elections of 21 mayors and county magistrates.

Please see MA on page

Premier Frank Hsieh is proposing to let voters go to the polls to elect city and county councils as well as township chiefs at the same time with the mayors and magistrates.

The Central Election Commission has yet to decide on the day for the elections.

"Our two parties will carry on cooperation in fact, albeit not in name," said the mayor.

Does Ma want to visit China, like P. K. Chiang?

"I'd like to, if I could," Ma said.

As a mayor, Ma is forbidden to visit China like Chiang, who has just returned from China after signing a ten-point agreement with Chen Yunlin, head of the Taiwan Office of the State Council.

"After serving up my second term as mayor," Ma said, "I would like to visit China as chairman of the Kuomintang."

He did not mention a compromise he made with his native-born rival on the eligibility for electing the new Kuomintang chairman.

The compromise was struck, aides to both leaders said.

It now takes Lien Chan just to announce today the decision that would enable practically all 1.06 million card-carrying members to vote in the July 16 election, aides added.

The announcement will be made at a Kuomintang central standing committee meeting this morning.

In effect, Ma acquiesced to Wang's insistence that all members be qualified to vote. Ma wanted the eligibility limited to only those who have paid their membership dues in full.

Under the compromise, all those with dues in arrears would be urged to make them up but may yet be able to vote, so long as their party rights, including that of election, are not suspended on and before Election Day.

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