KMT’s Hung asked to quit presidential race
Chairman Eric Chu is willing to take on ‘burden’: KMT official
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.
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.