Mon, Oct 05, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Hung respects ‘freedom’ of challenger

NOT HUNG UP:The KMT presidential candidate seemed unfazed by the prospect of a challenge to her selection, but her supporters slammed Chiang Shuo-ping online

By Chen Yu-hsuan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee member Chiang Shuo-ping yesterday talks to reporters at the party’s headquarters in Taipei.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday said that she respects a person’s “freedom of expression” when asked to comment on KMT Central Standing Committee member Chiang Shuo-ping’s (江碩平) announcement that he intends to seek a provisional party congress to assess whether Hung should be replaced as the party’s candidate in next year’s election.

When further pressed by journalists over whether she supports the proposal for the party to call a provisional party convention, a solemn-looking Hung only said: “I respect it, I respect it.”

Chiang reaffirmed his intention yesterday, saying that he has answered nearly 100 telephone calls from grassroots party members in recent weeks, all of whom have said they are worried that Hung continues to lag well behind Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in opinion polls.

“They all asked me what the party can do about it,” Chiang said, adding that there is a growing sentiment within the party that Hung should be replaced.

He reiterated that he is planning to ask the Central Standing Committee during its meeting on Wednesday to convene a provisional party congress for talks on whether Hung should be replaced as the KMT’s nominee for the presidential race.

“It is not because Hung is not good... We can only say that she lacks the charisma to draw everyone to like her, in a similar way to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” Chiang said.

Asked who is liked by everyone, he said: “I don’t know.”

Morale at the grassroots level has been very low and people are anxious, “otherwise I would not bring up the proposal,” Chiang said, adding that he is confident that his proposal to hold a provisional party congress will be adopted.

Meanwhile, some KMT voters left messages on Hung’s official Facebook page yesterday, while some others slammed Chiang, with one saying that “I will not vote for any KMT candidate in the legislative elections if Hung is replaced.”

In addition to the presidential race, the KMT is expected to face a tough challenge to maintain its majority in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan in next year’s legislative elections, which are to be held simultaneously with the presidential vote.

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