KMT’s Hung de­fies calls to step aside

Hung ad­vi­sors say cam­paign staff have been re­al­lo­cated; KMT de­nies

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

Kuom­intang (KMT) pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu ( ) yesterday de­fied grow­ing pres­sure to step aside ahead of a key party meet­ing to de­ter­mine the fate of her can­di­dacy, vow­ing to con­tinue her bid even if it were to cause her “death on the bat­tle­field.”

“Please rest as­sured, I in­sist on my orig­i­nal in­ten­tion and prom­ise to run for pres­i­dent, and I will not ac­cept any pri­vate ex­change of con­di­tions (to drop out of the race) or bow my head to any un­rea­son­able power,” she stated in a press con­fer­ence. Hung de­layed a pre­vi­ous ap­point­ment at the Leg­isla­tive Yuan to make the brief an­nounce­ment, gen­er­at­ing high media at­ten­tion con­cern­ing her next moves and the ma­neu­ver­ing of party mem­bers who want her re­placed.

A mo­tion brought be­fore the party’s Cen­tral Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (CSC) this af­ter­noon will likely bring forth an ex­tra­or­di­nary party congress that seeks to re­place her with KMT Chair­man Eric Chu ( ).

Hung termed grow­ing calls from within the KMT to re­place her as ru­mors.

“To this day I am un­will­ing to be­lieve that the ru­mors call­ing for ‘re­plac­ing Hung’ are real,” she said.

On Mon­day, lo­cal media re­vealed that Chu had asked Hung to re­lin­quish her role as pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee up to three times in Septem­ber. A high-level party of­fi­cial also re­vealed that Chu was “will­ing to take the bur­den of run­ning” should Hung step aside.

Although la­bel­ing the swirling moves in the lead­er­ship to re­place her as ru­mor, Hung had strong words for her de­trac­tors, say­ing that her ouster would mean los­ing the “last bit of ex­pec­ta­tion that the public has of our party” and that the party’s past prac­tices had be­lied the public’s trust.

“What the peo­ple de­spise is the KMT’s lack of trans­parency, its se­crecy and its deal mak­ing,” she said.

In a state­ment fore­bod­ing a pro­tracted con­flict with party cen­tral, Hung re­minded her op- po­nents that the party must move “in ac­cor­dance with the law, not in ac­cor­dance to an in­di­vid­ual” and that any de­ci­sions made by the KMT should abide by the law and so­ci­etal ex­pec­ta­tions.

An­swer­ing whether she would take le­gal ac­tion against the party if her can­di­dacy is nul­li­fied, Hung an­swered she would “think about it.”

Kuom­intang HQ (De)mo­bi­lizes Re­sources

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal party branches, KMT head­quar­ters has been so­lic­it­ing opin­ions on an agenda for the ex­tra­or­di­nary party congress, in­clud­ing “pass­ing a mo­tion to ap­prove Chair­man Chu as the party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.”

In ad­di­tion to ready­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity to re­place Hung, ad­vi­sors to the can­di­date say that the party has re­al­lo­cated Hung’s cam­paign staff in­clud­ing those in the pol­icy de­vel­op­ment, youth and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs de­part­ments. Party of­fi­cials later de­nied that or­ders were given to va­cate Hung’s cam­paign of­fice.

A rally planned for Hung in Taoyuan, or­ga­nized by head­quar­ters for Thurs­day, has also been called off.

Will Take Full Re­spon­si­bil­ity: Chu

Chu stated yesterday that he was “duty bound” as party chair­man and would “bear the bur­den of full re­spon­si­bil­ity” while con­firm­ing that he had been in di­a­logue with Hung re­cently. Re­spond­ing to ques­tions on if he would re­sign as New Taipei mayor to take on the pres­i­den­tial bid, Chu replied he would not an­swer “hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tions.”

Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post

KMT pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu ad­dresses re­porters at a news con­fer­ence at party head­quar­ters,re­solv­ing to stay in the race de­spite re­newed pres­sure from the party lead­er­ship for her to with­draw and make room for a new nom­i­nee, yesterday. Hung added that the party must stick to its val­ues to earn the trust of the Tai­wanese peo­ple. Af­ter speak­ing, she un­furled a cam­paign poster that quoted party Chair­man Eric Chu: “Only by unit­ing be­hind Hung can the party be vic­to­ri­ous.”

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