Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday passed the 30 percent threshold in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) three presidential primary polls yesterday, with an average approval rating of 46.203 percent.
Hung, who was the only contender, can now be nominated by the KMT to run in the presidential election in January next year.
She thanked her supporters during a news conference at the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei.
“This is only the first step,” Hung said, adding that she would move forward with greater confidence to secure the nomination.
Hung said she expects the KMT’s national party convention on Friday to formally pick her as the party’s presidential nominee and that a presidential election between two women would mark a new page in the development of democracy in Taiwan.
According to KMT sources, “hesitation and cowardice” by the so-called “KMT heavyweights” in failing to run in the primary drove party members to support Hung and helped her pass the primary poll threshold.
The polls were organized by three agencies — Trengo, Statinc and the United Daily News — each of which was required to collect more than 1,200 valid samples.
The polls measured Hung’s approval rating running alone and against Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The final results were an average of the two scenarios in the three polls.
KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the high approval rating demonstrated that Hung had wide support among the public.
“Hung’s insistence on throwing her hat into the ring and her position on the future of our party has encouraged many supporters. We are proud of her,” Hau said.
Hau said he would convene a meeting of the nomination and auditing committee tomorrow to confirm the outcome of the polls before submitting the results to the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday.
Hung yesterday said political views, professional ethics and age would be important considerations when selecting a running mate.
Hung added that she has a rough idea about who she wants as her vice presidential candidate, but declined to elaborate any further.
Hung, 67, said she expects her running mate to be younger than her, have the same political views, a positive moral character, impeccable professional ethics and a background that complements her own.
Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said he is happy about the outcome of the primary and added that Hung’s nomination would be processed according to party rules.
According to Chu, Hung’s nomination would first be confirmed by the nomination committee and then submitted to the Central Standing Committee, which meets on Wednesdays, for approval.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would fully support whichever candidate the KMT nominates to run in the next presidential election, Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said yesterday.
“As a member of the KMT, President Ma will extend his backing to the candidate nominated by the party,” Chen said.
If nominated by the KMT, Hung would run against Tsai, who lost the 2012 presidential race to Ma.