KMT lead­ers try to quash ‘re­place Hung’ mur­murs

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

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).”

CNA

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.

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