KMT leaders try to quash ‘replace Hung’ murmurs
The ruling Kuomintang ( KMT) attempted yesterday to dispel speculation that presidential candidate and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (
) would be replaced, with a gathering of party and business stalwarts.
In a show of unity, President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice President Wu Den- yih ( ) and KMT Chairman and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu ( ) joined Hung on stage during a ceremony in which overseas Taiwanese businesses formed a campaign support group for her. Legislative Speaker and party heavyweight Wang Jin-pyng ( ) did not attend the rally. Members of the Chinese Cross-Strait Taiwan Businesses Development and Research Forum (
) called for 800 business heads paign.
“Are we really not transparent? What we stand for is antipopulism!” Hung said to cheering crowds as she chastised the opposition party’s negative stance toward trade in services and goods agreements with China, the establishment of free economic pilot zones and the recent high school curriculum guidelines.
Ma let loose a smile after a supporter in the crowd shouted “down with Wang Jin-pyng” which made Hung pause briefly during her 20-minute speech. The president led the crowd in the shouting of slogans in support of Hung, and introduced her as the “KMT’s presidential candidate” to express his endorsement. Wang later laughed off the remark, saying that he was not great enough
to back Hung’s cam- to require being taken down.
Hung said that in order for the KMT to remain in power, it must cast a wide net in order to win back popular support. While adding that she did not take personal issue with those who want to replace her, Hung said that her withdrawal from the race would hurt pan-blue supporters, push away swing voters, which would be to the delight of the opposition.
She remains far behind Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen ( ) in polling.
Meanwhile, party leader Chu stated empathically that Hung’s running mate would hail from Central or Southern Taiwan and would be announced later by Hung herself. Chu has attempted to quash rumors that he would join Hung’s ticket as her running mate and shorten his tenure as New Taipei mayor. Hung had termed her relationship with the party leader as “a fated community” in previous days and indicated she would be pleased if Chu would be her vice presidential running mate. Chu responded by saying the whole KMT was a fated community.
Chu said that any words on the matter of his participating in the race “will come from me and me alone. No one can speak for me (on the matter).”
President Ma Ying-jeou, front row second left, Vice President Du Den-yih, front row left, Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu, front row right, KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu, front row second right, and guests chant a slogan during the inauguration ceremony for a KMT presidential election support group formed by cross-strait Taiwan businesses in Taipei, yesterday.