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Is Ma qualified for another term as KMT chairman?

Publication Date : 24-01-2013

 

Tsai Cheng-yuan, a Kuomintang lawmaker, started a teapot tempest within the ruling party last week. He wrote on his Facebook page that it is illegal for President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), to be re-elected as chairman of the party.

He cited Article 20 of the Civil Association Act, which stipulates that the head of a civil association may be reappointed only once, and pointed out that the KMT is a political party to which the stipulation has to be applied. Moreover, he stressed that it is also stipulated in the KMT charter that its chairman is to serve four years and be re-elected only once. One more argument against Ma's running for re-election for a third term is a Taiwan High Court ruling that Kang Shih-ju was illegally re-elected mayor of Jhunan in the Miaoli County for the third time. Kang quit as mayor to run for the Legislative Yuan while he was serving his second term. After serving in the Legislature, he ran for mayor again, with his qualification cleared by the Central Election Commission. He was re-elected, but his rival contested. The court ruled Kang's second term, though not completed, disqualified him from seeking a third term.

Ma was elected KMT chairman in 2005 while serving as mayor of Taipei. He was indicted for misuse of his expense account to which he was entitled as mayor, and quit as party chairman in 2007 to run for president. He was elected president in 2008, and was re-elected party chairman in 2009. His term coming to an end in October this year, he wants to run for re-election. If the High Court ruling is applied, he is ineligible.

President Ma wants to lead the ruling party for another four years. He wishes to continue reforming the government as well as the party to be remembered as a reformer in history. Citing Article 46 of the Civil Association Act stipulating that leadership elections of political groups should be handled according to their regulations, the KMT said Ma's candidacy shall be based on the regulations in its party charter. The regulations require a party chairman serve four years and can be re-elected only once consecutively, according to party spokesman Yin Wei. He said President Ma was not re-elected consecutively when he was elected party chairman in 2009, because Wu Po-hsiung was elected in 2005 to serve a four-year term. But Tsai considered Yin's explanation of de lian xuan yi ci as “re-elected consecutively” to differ from what is originally meant. Convinced that lian xuan means “re-elected” without “consecutively,” Tsai has criticized his own party for “changing the laws to fit one's circumstances,” asking: “Is this where our reform is headed?”

Well, Ma wants to be the party leader to tame such unruly lawmakers as Tsai. But he does not have to be the chairman of the KMT to lead the party. Leadership is sustained by the skills of a leader, not by his title. Deng Xiaoping never was the party chief, but successfully led a united and obedient Chinese Communist Party till his death. Chiang Kai-shek led China in war against Japan as chairman of the Kuomintang Military Commission, not as president of the Republic of China. His son Chiang Ching-kuo ruled Taiwan successfully as premier, not president of the republic, until he was finally elected to the presidency in 1978.

Laozi says: “But of a good leader ... When the work is done, his aim fulfilled, they (all those under the leader) will say, 'We did this ourselves.'” Chiang Ching-kuo was such a leader. He would consult his ministers and advisors before he decided on a policy. When the policy was enforced with success, all of them were satisfied that their recommendations had contributed to the successful implementation of the policy.

Setting the example is another skill of leadership. A successful leader shows others the proper way to conduct themselves. It is even more effective than vocal communication. Without this skill, all other skills will be useless. One way to talk about setting examples is to imagine yourself as part of a group and think about how you like your leader to act. Chiang Ching-kuo had this skill, too.

 

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