Wu quits as acting KMT chairman to campaign

The China Post staff

Wu Po-hsiung stepped down as acting Kuomintang chairman to seek the leadership of the opposition party yesterday. He also gave up his vice chairmanship of the party, which is considered likely to sway the votes in the leadership election scheduled for April 7. When Ma Ying-jeou resigned as Kuomintang chairman on February 13, Wu Po-hsiung, the first vice chairman, was appointed to act for him. Ma declared candidacy for president on the day he quit after he had been indicted for corruption. P.K. Chiang, the second vice chairman, took over from Wu until the new chairman is inaugurated on April 11. Reiterating that the chairmanship would be his last job, Wu said he would, if elected, do what he could to achieve solidarity of the party, which is necessary to field a winning ticket in 2008. Ma Ying-jeou announced his candidacy on February 13.

Wang Jin-pyng, president of the Legislative Yuan, is campaigning for 2008, though he has yet to announce his bid. Keen competition between the tWu may split the Kuomintang to repeat its presidential election fiasco in 2000. James Soong left the party to run for president as an independent that year. In the end, Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party won a plurality with Lien Chan, the Kuomintang standard bearer, trailing far behind at third. Asked if he might be the running mate if no mediation could produce the good joint ticket, Wu said it’s “absolutely impossible.” He persuaded Ma and Wang to agree to be each other’s running mate, if either of them were nominated. Should that promise be broken, would Wu be the running mate of either of them, most likely Ma Ying-jeou? “Ridiculous,” Wu told reporters. “It’s absolutely impossible,” he stressed.