By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Kuomintang (KMT) spokesman Yin Wei said yesterday that his party does not plan to alter its charter, in response to rumors claiming that KMT headquarters was planning to do so in order to facilitate President Ma Ying-jeou’s re-election as party chairman. KMT Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan recently said that in order for Ma to legitimately run for another term, the party would have to alter its regulations. Yin, however, explained that according to the party’s current regulations, Ma is eligible for re-election. According to the English translation, Article 22 of the KMT’s charter stipulates that “the chairman may be re-elected once,” which omits the phrase “for a consecutive term” included in the original version. The full sentence should thus be translated as “the chairman may be re-elected once for a consecutive term.”
Definition Ma was elected as party chairman in 2005 and stepped down voluntarily in 2007 due to graft charges that were brought against him. Subsequently, former Interior Minister Wu Po-hsiung took over as acting chairman. Afterward, he resigned as acting chairman, and was elected chairman in a by-election. After being cleared of the charges, Ma was elected again to the post in 2009. Tsai argues that although Wu served as chairman in between Ma’s two terms, since the former interior minister was elected in a by-election, his term should be seen as being a part of Ma’s, because he was completing the remainder of his predecessor’s tenure. One of the major contentions is whether or not Wu’s chairmanship should be seen as being part of Ma’s term.
Interpretation Citing a court ruling on Kang Shih-ju’s re-election as Zhunan mayor, Tsai said that Wu’s term should be seen as being a part of Ma’s previous tenure. In 2011, Kang’s re-election to the mayoral office was declared void by the High Court. Before the end of his second term as mayor, Kang resigned and ran for legislator. Afterward, Kang ran for mayor again, and was subsequently elected, but the High Court declared the result void, on the basis of its interpretation of the Local Government Act, ruling that Kang had already served two consecutive terms beforehand, and was prohibited from running for a third, despite the fact that he had resigned, and that a by-election had been held, before his third attempt. Tsai further cited Article 20 of the Civil Associations Act, which stipulates that a “chairperson … may be reappointed only once,” as one of the regulations preventing Ma from running again. The Ministry of Interior (MOI), however, responded by saying that as far as Ma’s case is concerned, Article 49 of the same act is relevant. The article stipulates that political associations “(should) be organized and operated according to the principle of democracy, and prescribe the positions, quota, tenure, election, and recall of personnel … in its constitution.” Yin said that in accordance with the MOI’s statement and the KMT’s charter, there was no question regarding Ma’s eligibility for re-election.