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Taiwan's ruling KMT party has new chairman

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-18 09:27

Taiwan's ruling KMT party has new chairman

An undated photo shows Taiwan's New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu. Eric Chu was elected chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in an uncontested election on Jan. 17, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

TAIPEI - Taiwan's New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu was elected chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in an uncontested election on Saturday.

About 56 percent of the 349,374 eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots. Chu won 196,065 valid votes, or 99.61 percent of the votes, the highest since the chairmanship election was first open to party members in 2001, according to the KMT Central Committee.

Chu will take office as chairman next Monday.

The former KMT leader Ma Ying-jeou stepped down as chairman on Dec. 3 to take responsibility for the party's defeat in the Nov. 29 local government elections, handing over the reins to its first vice chairman Wu Den-yih.

According to the party's charter, the interim chief is tasked with organizing a new election for a replacement to serve out the predecessor's remaining term within three months of a chairmanship vacancy.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Central Committee, congratulated Eric Chu soon after his success in election.

Xi said in a message that he hoped the two parties, for the cardinal interest of the Chinese nation, can continue working together to maintain the common political commitments of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence."

Xi said the CPC and KMT have advanced mainland-Taiwan relations toward peaceful development, which have resulted in benefits for the people of both sides. He hoped the two parties strengthen communication and deepen mutual trust to carry on the peaceful trend in November.

In his reply to Xi's message, Chu thanked Xi and said that the two parties had consolidated mutual trust on the basis of the 1992 Consensus .He expected the two parties would continue to expand exchanges, strive for mutual benefits and promote perpetual peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait.

"When the KMT faces its most grimm time, I can't just walk away from the party. Instead I must run for party chief in a bid to carry out sweeping and profound reform and revive the spirit of the party," Chu said on his Facebook account when he announced his running for the chairmanship soon after the KMT's crushing loss in local elections in November.

However, Chu did not make a speech after being elected as the party chief.

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