KMT’s Hung asked to quit pres­i­den­tial race

Chair­man Eric Chu is will­ing to take on ‘bur­den’: KMT of­fi­cial

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

Kuom­intang ( KMT) Chair­man Eric Chu ( ) is “will­ing to take the bur­den” of run­ning as the party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, ac­cord­ing to a top party of­fi­cial quot­ing Chu who was cited by lo­cal media yesterday.

Ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal Ap­ple Daily, KMT Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral Lee Shih- chuan ( ) said Chu made the re­marks on Sept. 22, af­ter cur­rent pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu- Chu (

) asked Lee who would re­place her if she were to end her elec­tion run. The same re­port in­di­cates that Chu had asked Hung to step aside from the elec­tion three times in Septem­ber.

Chu yesterday char­ac­ter­ized ear­lier media re­ports sug­gest­ing that he would re­sign as New Taipei mayor and sub­se­quently re­place Hung as “sense­less.”

The party leader who was once seen as the most likely heavy­weight in the up­per ech­e­lons of the party added that there was no pos­si­bil­ity to re­spond to spec­u­la­tion based upon un­known sources. He stated that dif­fer­ing voices within the party should “speak di­rectly” on the mat­ter of Hung’s can­di­dacy and that the party unites be­hind the dis­cus­sions.

A re­port by lo­cal media claimed that sup­port­ers in New Taipei were cer­tain that Chu would re­sign as mayor on Fri­day, and ini­ti­ate the re-elec­tion of his va­cancy to co­in­cide with the pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive elec­tions in 2016 to drum up sup­port.

Chu will pre­side over the party’s Cen­tral Stand­ing Com­mit­tee ( CSC) meet­ing on Wed­nes­day where a de­ci­sion on the mo­tion will likely pave the way to­ward a pro­vi­sional party congress to be held. The party must fi­nal­ize its de­ci­sion by Nov. 23, the date in which pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are reg­is­tered with the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (CEC, ).

An un­named KMT of­fi­cial, how­ever, told The China Post that any even­tual move to re­place Hung was “very un­likely.”

Last week­end, KMT CSC mem­ber Chi­ang Shuo-ping (

) de­manded that a mo­tion be in­tro­duced in Wed­nes­day’s CSC meet­ing to con­vene a pro­vi­sional party congress to de­ter­mine the fate of Hung’s nom­i­na­tion. Chi­ang was ap­par­ently put off by re­cent re­marks made by Hung where she said that re­la­tions be­tween China and Tai­wan would ul­ti­mately lead to re­uni­fi­ca­tion.

Some CSC mem­bers be­lieve that Hung’s lag­ging poll num­bers and fail­ure to en­er­gize lo­cal elec­tion con­tests are rea­son enough that she be re­placed. There are re­ports un­con­firmed by the party’s cen­tral of­fice and Hung’s cam­paign that the can­di­date has al­ready put to­gether a le­gal team to sur­mount a de­fense of her for­mal nom­i­na­tion by the party on July 19.

Party spokesman Yang We­ichung ( ) ad­mit­ted that “there are truly voices from within the party” that have broached the pos­si­bil­ity of re­plac­ing Hung. Speak­ing dur­ing a po­lit­i­cal talk show, Yang said that the party could not ig­nore these sen­ti­ments com­ing from the party’s base.

He also took the op­por­tu­nity to de­fend Hung, say­ing that the party’s re­cent woes could not all be placed squarely onto the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, but the party also had to take into ac­count the lack of con­sol­i­da­tion in the party lead­er­ship.

Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post

An in­flat­able fig­urine of Kuom­intang (KMT) pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu is dis­played at party head­quar­ters in Taipei, yesterday. Hung is fac­ing enor­mous pres­sure from within her party to with­draw from the race. Re­ports from lo­cal media yesterday added fuel to the fire, re­veal­ing that KMT Chair­man Eric Chu asked Hung to step aside mul­ti­ple times in Septem­ber.

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