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President takes over as KMT chair, says will punish mavericks

President Ma Ying-jeou, who took the helm of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday, promised to settle disputes over the party's huge assets and to come down hard on mavericks undermining its year-end election campaign.

Ma, now in control of both the ruling party and the government, said a “final solution” will be worked out by the end of this year to dispose of the KMT business arm, the Central Investment Holding Company.

Except for portions allocated for workers' severance payments and for party operation funds, all income from the sale of the firm will go to charity, Ma said.

The party will stop running profit-seeking businesses, and all future election campaigns will be funded by donations, the new KMT chairman promised.

Addressing the party's National Congress, Ma called for unity and expressed regret over the defiance by some mavericks of a party ban on their running in the upcoming local government elections.

He said these mavericks must be punished to maintain party discipline that is essential to keeping the KMT united.

Ma also vowed to run a clean campaign without buying votes.

Ma was elected KMT chairman earlier this year, and was sworn in yesterday at the party congress.

It is the second time he has headed the party. But it is the first time that he is in control of both the government and the ruling party.

But unlike his predecessors Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, Ma is seen to be lacking a lot of the authority and capability to keep firm control of the party, which is still often seen as the core of country's power.

Democratic changes in Taiwan over the past two decades have also prevented a repeat of the authoritarian rules under the two Chiangs.

October 18, 2009    ludahai_twn@
1. Didn't Liar Ma say during the campaign that he wouldn't be chairman of the party if he were president? Isn't this the same cabal that condemned Chen for doing the same thing? Hypocrites.

2. Liquidating the assets and donating them to charity. Is that how Ma got out of his use of the special funds he was accused of using improperly? Those assets belong to the PEOPLE not to the PARTY to dispose of.

3. Taiwan needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to root out criminals and alleged criminals (like perhaps even Ma himself for his alleged actions while at Harvard) like South Africa and other countries that had gone through authoritarian periods.

4. The KMT has only shown that it still maintains its culture of lying and cheating. Three members have lost their seats to vote buying -- with two more in the pipeline, one lost her seat to lying about dual citizenship. They elected a man CONVICTED of election related violence to its standing committee. Pathetic.

Why does anyone trust these people? They have shown time and again that they are not truly democrats. They do everything they can to subvert the rule of law and the wishes of the people.

How about those denials of referenda which are of questionable legality? The unilateral extension of the terms of elected mayors and magistrates -- also of questionable legality -- and falls WELL SHORT of international democratic standards? So much, so much to comment on. The KMT are nothing but a bunch of dishonest autocrats bent on control of Taiwan.
October 18, 2009    cigars898@
Didn't Ma promise he would never lead the KMT while he was president? Interesting how there was no mention of that in this article or any other articles. Have cross strait tensions eased? They still have all those missiles pointed at us. How have tensions been eased? China like Ma says one thing but does another.
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 President takes over as KMT chair, says will punish mavericks 
President Ma Ying-jeou, right, takes over the helm of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) from outgoing Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, left, who will now serve as an honorary chairman of the party. Transferring the party seal, at center, is Chiu Chuang-huan, a leader of the KMT Central Advisory Committee. (CNA)

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