The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was scrambling to find a new candidate for the Yunlin County commissioner election yesterday after Chang Li-shan (張麗善) withdrew her candidacy on Monday.
National Yunlin University of Science & Technology professor Wu Wei-chi (吳威志) and Hsu Su-po (許舒博), director of the KMT’s Yunlin branch, are among those the party is considering as a replacement.
Hsu met KMT Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) at KMT headquarters yesterday but said he had no intention of running in the election.
Chan said the party would insist on presenting a candidate with integrity and a clean image. He also said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had urged the party to continue its reform efforts and push for party unity.
“The president hopes that the public will approve of our reform efforts and support the KMT,” he said.
Chang announced on Monday that she would withdraw from the election without telling the party first. She said she was withdrawing her candidacy because of the bad blood between her brother, former Yunlin County commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味) and Chang Hui-yuan (張輝元), who ran in Saturday’s Yunlin legislative by-election as an independent.
The split between Chang Hui-yuan and the KMT’s candidate Chang Ken-hui (張艮輝) helped Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) win a landslide victory, the two factions backing Chang Hui-yuan and Chang Jung-wei respectively having turned on each other.
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said the party would definitely find a candidate from Yunlin, rather than someone from another city or county.
Wu also dismissed allegations that the party wanted its candidates standing in local government elections who are also legislators to give up their legislative seats.
Chan, however, said the party could consider it as a strategy to increase room for negotiation between hopefuls.
The party could arrange for individuals who were also interested in joining the local government elections to run in the legislative by-elections instead if the other candidates gave up their legislative seats, Chan said.
The KMT would not make a decision on the issue without consulting candidates, legislators and local branches, he said.
KMT candidates who are also legislators include Hsinchu County’s Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳), Taitung County’s Justin Huang (黃健庭), Taoyuan County’s John Wu (吳志揚), and Chiayi County’s Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞).
In related news, Hualien County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chih-ming (張志明) said he would leave the KMT to take part in December’s county commissioner election as an independent.
Chang did not take part in last month’s party primary, which saw former Hualien County Agricultural Development Office director Tu Li-hua (杜麗華) triumph over former minister of health Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), but has long been interested in running for the post.