Doubts in­crease over Hung KMT pres­i­den­tial bid

Hung cam­paign of­fice says the party’s de­ci­sion will be re­spected

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

Kuom­intang (KMT) pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu’s ( ) cam­paign of­fice stated yesterday that she will re­spect the de­ci­sion of party head­quar­ters on whether a party congress will be held to de­ter­mine the vi­a­bil­ity of her can­di­dacy.

Hung’s cam­paign spokes­woman, Wang Hong-wei (

), stated that as a party that re­spects rules, the can­di­date would re­spect the de­ci­sion of the party on the mat­ter.

KMT Cen­tral Stand­ing Com­mit­tee ( CSC) mem­ber Chi­ang Shuo-ping ( ) broached the idea of an ex­tra­or­di­nary party congress to be con­vened this Wed­nes­day to ad­dress Hung’s can­di­dacy due to low polling num­bers and lag­ging con­fi­dence that she could muster the sup­port to de­feat Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party Chair­woman Tsai Ing-wen in the Jan­uary 2016 gen­eral elec­tion.

“Which one of you re­porters thinks that she (Hung) can win?” Chi­ang asked. He ex­pressed ex- as­per­a­tion that party head­quar­ters was all for chant­ing slo­gans in fa­vor of party unity and said that he would def­i­nitely bring up the case for hold­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing. Chi­ang said at least 20 other mem­bers of the CSC would sup­port the mo­tion on Wed­nes­day.

Ad­dress­ing re­porters, Chi­ang said that the ex­tra­or­di­nary party congress would be a move to “con­sol­i­date con­sen­sus” and that he would sup­port a can­di­date who could win. Elab­o­rat­ing, he said that Hung does not com­mand the wide­spread pop­u­lar sup­port that was gar­nered by cur­rent Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou when he sought the na­tion’s high­est of­fice in 2008. Hung has not been able to sur­mount low morale in lo­cal con­tests out­side the KMT’s tra­di­tional bas­tions in the north of Tai­wan, he said.

Leg­isla­tive Speaker Wang Jin­pyng ( ), con­sid­ered by in­sid­ers as a po­ten­tial re­place­ment, said that “ex­perts” needed to weigh in on the ef­fects of re­plac­ing Hung on the KMT’s cur­rent polling num­bers.

Ac­cord­ing to party of­fi­cials, sce­nar­ios ranged from Hung vol­un­tar­ily step­ping down as the KMT’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, or ac­ced­ing to a change of poli­cies that would garner more sup­port from CSC mem­bers, or fi­nally a mo­tion that would nul­lify Hung’s can­di­dacy di­rectly as a re­sult of the ex­tra­or­di­nary party congress. Party spokesman Yang We­ichung ( ) said that the mat­ter would be ad­dressed by the CSC and that “democ­racy” would de­ter­mine the fi­nal de­ci­sion taken.

In re­sponse to the pos­si­ble moves to re­place her, Hung said that she sup­ported in­di­vid­ual free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

In re­cent weeks, Hung has vowed to soldier on with her cam­paign and re­sponded that mur­murs to have her re­placed as the party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date were or­ches­tra­tions to di­vide the party. Last week, she took the stage with prom­i­nent mem­bers of the party, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Ma, Vice Pres­i­dent Wu Den-yih ( ) and KMT Chair­man and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu ( ) to shore up sup­port.

Hung was orig­i­nally nom­i­nated by the KMT as its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date on July 19 dur­ing its 19th na­tional party congress in Taipei.

CNA

Kuom­intang pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu Chu raises a glass in a toast in Taipei, yesterday. She was present to com­mem­o­rate the 35-year an­niver­sary of an or­ga­ni­za­tion sup­port­ing over­seas Chi­nese in Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Laos, as well as re­ceiv­ing a cam­paign back­ing from the group. Hung’s cam­paign faces another chal­lenge as prom­i­nent party mem­bers called for a meet­ing this week to con­sider re­plac­ing her as the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

AP

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