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July 29, 2017

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KMT to continue its legal battle to oust legislative speaker from party

TAIPEI--The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has decided to continue its legal battle against Legislative Speaker Wang Jing-pyng, a KMT source said Thursday, indicating that the party will appeal a district court ruling allowing Wang to retain his party membership.

After taking advice from lawyers, as well as considering the long-term future of party policy, the KMT has been left with no alternative but to appeal, the source said, adding that the decision was made out of consideration for party rules and discipline.

The KMT questions the rationale behind the ruling handed down by the Taipei District Court March 19, which pointed out that a conference of national delegates must be held before an individual can be stripped of party membership, over half of whom must attend and over two-thirds of whom must agree on membership revocation.

The KMT is a political party and cannot be viewed as an ordinary civic organization, said a party source, who went on to say that by the logic of the court ruling, previous individuals who have had their memberships revoked would be able to claim the decisions of the party's disciplinary committee as invalid. This, the source noted, could have strong repercussions.

According to the source, the handling of the matter could affect more than just the dispute over the current case, citing the year-end "seven-in one" local elections as a possible cause for concern if individuals not nominated by the KMT decide to contest the effectiveness of party disciplinary mechanisms and run in the elections.

The KMT has until the middle of April to lodge its appeal.

In handing Wang the victory, the Taipei District Court rejected the party disciplinary committee's authority after the KMT stripped Wang of his party membership last September for using his influence to sway decisions in a legal case.

If left to stand, the KMT disciplinary measure would have cost him his job as a party-nominated legislator-at large and head of the Legislature, a position he has held since 1999.

Wang, 73, brought the case against the KMT, claiming that he was unfairly treated by the party's disciplinary committee.

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