By Katherine Wei ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou — who doubles as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) — announced his determination to implement major reforms within the party yesterday, a declaration that was interpreted as a challenge to opposition party leader-to-be Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is gearing up for its chairman elections in May, but on the very first day after the party registrations kicked off, two of the three potential candidates announced their withdrawal from the race, leaving former Chairwoman Tsai as the only candidate. Incumbent Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former Premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) decisions to drop their election bids were welcomed by many who hoped for the party’s younger generation of politicians to take over. In the KMT party meeting held yesterday, Ma announced that he would be promoting policies and working together with Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), refuting rumors of his grudge against Wang, despite Ma’s insistence on filing an appeal regarding a recent court ruling allowing Wang to keep his KMT membership. Ma’s friendly proposal of teamwork yesterday was seen by some as a desperate means to unite the party. Ma will also be communicating closely with KMT county magistrates and mayors. KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) was ordered to submit a series of reform plans concerning the party’s organization, policy propaganda and press releases within two weeks. “The contents should avoid past mistakes and maintain ‘depth and honesty’ instead of only making half an effort to do so,” Ma was quoted as saying, adding that KMT media personnel should understand how to grab the attention of younger citizens and the means of communicating with them. Unnamed KMT officials stated that the new wave of reforms may also include personnel adjustments, as the pressure for reform was especially urgent following the shakeup of the DPP chairmanship race. KMT’s Hardest Times: Ma Ma stated that these are now the KMT’s most trying times, as the party has the seven-in-one elections to prepare for at the end of 2014. Everyone must work together to endure the hardship, said Ma. The president also noted that he will be making declarations that will ultimately cement the relationship and interactions between the KMT and its local political leaders, and the party’s younger generation will be gathered to brave the hard times as well. Ma also spoke on the controversial Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, saying that the DPP’s intention was to prevent Taiwan and China from signing any agreements. The KMT must understand the gravity of this and bond together, he said.
After the 24-day siege of the Legislature came to an end, the student, citizen, opposition party and Executive Yuan’s drafts of a supervisory law concerning cross-strait pacts were submitted for deliberation to the Legislature’s committees. Ma addressed student fears that only the Executive Yuan’s version would be passed, saying yesterday that the Cabinet’s draft was not a stumbling block. “If the other versions are feasible, they will be taken into consideration as well.”