Tue, Oct 13, 2015 - Page 1 News List

KMT sets date for ‘extempore’ congress

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu is surrounded by microphones in Taipei on Saturday on her way to the Martyrs Shrine to pay her respects on Double Ten National Day.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters yesterday scheduled the extempore party congress aimed at removing Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) as the party’s presidential candidate. It is to take place on Saturday.

The congress, which has as its objectives “forging consensuses and securing victory through party solidarity,” is scheduled to begin at 2pm on Saturday at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said after the conclusion of a party affairs meeting in Taipei yesterday morning.

When asked about whether such short notice would make it impossible for overseas KMT representatives to return for the congress, Lin said the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) only requires one day advance notice for such a meeting, adding that she believes the selection of the date conforms with the law.

Regarding calls from some KMT lawmakers that the proposal to rescind Hung’s nomination be put to a secret ballot, Lin said the issue was not discussed at the meeting.

“The agenda and procedures for the congress will be made public after they are finalized. On Wednesday [tomorrow], we are scheduled to first brief members of the KMT Central Standing Committee on the matter,” Lin said.

The announcement came after the committee passed a motion on Wednesday last week, backed by nearly three-fourths of its 39 members, to hold a provisional congress to replace Hung as presidential candidate.

Hung, who was officially nominated by the KMT on July 19 as the only hopeful to have met all of the party’s presidential primary requirements, has been facing mounting pressure from other members to exit the race for the Jan. 16 election, as her support ratings have dropped by more than 20 percentage points in the past few months.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) last week weighed in on the matter, saying that Hung’s pro-unification cross-strait policies run counter to both the party’s stance and mainstream public opinion, and urged her to look at the bigger picture.

Chu added that he was willing to “assume the responsibility” of being the party’s candidate should Hung decide to quit the race.

However, Hung has refused to quit and vowed to continue campaigning until the last minute.

Rejecting Hung’s comments on Sunday that putting her nomination to a vote — whether by applause, a show of hands, or a ballot — at the congress would be detrimental to the KMT’s primary mechanism, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said that changing the polling method only for Hung could impair the congress’ procedures.

“Given that a KMT congress approved Hung’s nomination with a round of applause, adopting a different voting method now could be disruptive,” Lo said.

Lo said that applause is also an effective manner of voting, because it is easy to determine whether a proposal has passed by the proportion of attendees standing up and applauding.

When asked who would be the most suitable substitute for Hung, Lo said that she believes Chu would be the party’s best hope.

“Factoring in political geography, provincialism and gender, KMT Vice Chairperson Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), who once served as Chiayi mayor, would also be an ideal choice,” Lo added.

In related news, at a question-and-answer session in the legislature, Control Yuan Secretary-General Fu Meng-jung (傅孟融) said that Hung would be required to transfer the remainder of contributions to her campaign to the government’s coffers should she be forced out of the race.

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