Doubts increase over Hung KMT presidential bid
Hung campaign office says the party’s decision will be respected
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.
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.