Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday signed up to participate in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) primary for its presidential candidate, becoming the first person to do so after the nomination process began.
More than 100 of Hung’s supporters gathered outside the KMT’s headquarters as Hung went through the process of acquiring an application form.
“Give me Hung Hsiu-chiu, pillar of tomorrow,” chanted her supporters. The word “pillar” is an allusion to the last character of her name in Chinese.
Addressing the crowd, Hung said that the battle had begun.
“Changes start today,” she said. “I would have every bone in my body smashed in exchange for the nation walking on the right path.”
She also pledged to take part in the primary, which she described as a fair and open election process under a democratic mechanism.
“Without this process, there will only be closed-door negotiations,” which Hung said she would never accept.
Hung is the only KMT member so far to come forward, while other hopefuls, including Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) have remained tight-lipped about their intentions.
Asked if he would also be taking an application form, Wang yesterday said: “I don’t know now ... later,” while giving his support to Hung.
New Taipei City Mayor and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) — who is widely seen as the KMT’s best chance of winning the presidential election next year — has made it clear on several occasions that he has no plans to enter the race.
Some KMT supporters remain hopeful that Chu might change his mind if enough people come forward to persuade him to run for the presidency.
The KMT started the nomination process to select a presidential candidate yesterday. Interested party members need to submit an application form and collect supporting signatures from 5 percent of KMT members to register as a candidate.
The hopefuls have 27 days to complete the process, with candidate registrations taking place on May 17 and May 18.
The candidate is to be selected by a combination of opinion polls and a vote by party members. The average from two polls is to account for 70 percent of the final result and the party members’ vote, to be held on June 14, would make up the remaining 30 percent.
The KMT has more than 300,000 members, so potential candidates need to collect 15,000 signatures each to reach the next stage of the selection process.
The KMT is to nominate its presidential candidate at a party convention in mid-July.
The Democratic Progressive Party on Wednesday last week nominated Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as its presidential candidate.
The Central Election Commission last month selected Jan. 16 next year as the date for the presidential and legislative elections.
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