Hung overcomes hurdle, more challenges ahead
Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiuchu ( ) handily exceeded her party’s opinion poll requirements with results publicized yesterday at Kuomintang ( KMT) headquarters showing that she achieved an average of 46.2 percent favorability in two days of telephone polling.
While the outcome of the polling showed a clear victory for Hung, it still remains to be seen whether she will ultimately secure the party’s nomination, as the decision lies with the party chairman and Central Standing Committee (CSC).
If Hung does emerge as the nominee, it would set up the first presidential race between two female candidates in Taiwan, with Hung facing off against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen ( ).
After KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu- chuan ( ) announced the results conducted on July 12 and 13 by three separate polling companies, he confirmed that Hung had successfully passed the 30-percent requirement to become the party’s presidential candidate.
Speaking after the results were made public, Hung expressed her thanks to supporters, but emphasized that she wanted those who did not support her to give her time as well as an opportunity to win them over.
“Our society today cannot be further split apart, cannot be pit against one another. I hope we can all unite under ‘the sun on a blue sky upon the red earth,’” she said, referring to the color design of the R.O.C. flag. “We have the R.O.C. ‘group’ and no other factions.”
She also told her supporters not to give in to feelings of victory too quickly as many tests and challenges lay ahead.
KMT Leaders React Positively
KMT Vice Chairman and former Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin ( ) said that Hung’s ratings represented that she had broad support among Taiwan’s public. He revealed that a meeting to audit the results would take place Tuesday before they are approved by the CSC on Wednesday.
Party Chairman and New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu ( ) emphasized that the KMT was now working beyond achieving recognition within the party, but the support and recognition of the entire population. Chu, who will return to chairing the CSC weekly meeting on Wednesday after a twoweek absence, reaffirmed that the party’s primary would continue to run according to party regulations.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jinpyng ( ) later telephoned Hung to congratulate her on passing the opinion poll stage, but he declined to comment on his future intentions following his remarks last week that he would be “obliged” to run for president if the party chose to draft him.
Tsai Congratulates Hung
DPP Chairwoman Tsai also congratulated Hung, stating that she hoped she and Hung could achieve a new election culture that would move away from personal attacks.
Tsai also posted on her Facebook profile calling for Hung to support the constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18. Hung — as well as the KMT caucus — supports the initiative, but as part of a larger set of reforms that have put them at loggerheads with the DPP.
The Way Forward
Hung has already taken the KMT presidential primary beyond tested waters, with previous party nominations made as formalities after a larger party consensus had been achieved. Before her policy platform speech given at the CSC last Wednesday, she secured key endorsements from former senior diplomats and national security council members, with former Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen ( ) calling her campaign “a breath of fresh air.”