KMT may try to accommodate protesters at National Congress


TAIPEI–The Kuomintang (KMT) is considering setting aside an area outside the venue where its National Congress will be held in November as a place where it can hear views and accept petitions from unregistered protesters, party members said yesterday.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, respects the right of people to protest and is seeking a middle ground that will uphold such rights while ensuring that the meeting goes smoothly, unidentified party members said.

The party had planned to convene its National Congress in Taipei on Sept. 29, but postponed it after learning that over 40 civic groups intended to hold a large-scale anti-government rally that day outside the meeting’s venue, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

The KMT later decided to move the meeting to Taichung on Nov. 10.

It is now considering ways to accommodate the protesters while holding the meeting without disruptions, including setting up an area for groups without permission to protest to submit petitions.

Several groups are expected to apply for protest permits to voice their discontent with the government and their general dissatisfaction on a number of fronts, including the economy and a controversial agreement on trade in services with China.

The KMT National Congress is the party’s highest ruling body when in session.