Sun, Oct 18, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Presidential Election: Huge majority in favor of Hung’s removal

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu addresses the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) extempore congress at National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Against a backdrop of chants from supporters of Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) outside, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) extempore congress yesterday voted by a wide margin in favor of a motion to rescind Hung’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.

The motion was passed by a landslide vote of 812 to 79 at the congress at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei in the afternoon, putting an end to Hung’s candidacy, which had been dogged by rumors about the KMT leadership’s plan to replace her since the beginning.

Among the supporters of the motion were President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), as well as former KMT chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).

The conference briefly descended into chaos when pro-Hung representative Yu Hao (游顥) spoke against a proposal by the meeting’s chairman, former KMT vice chairman Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正), to vote on the motion by a show of hands — as opposed to KMT congress’ traditional voting through applause — due to the significance of the matter.

Yu proposed putting the motion to a secret vote, a suggestion dismissed by many other party representatives at the meeting, with some shouting: “Just vote by a show of hands.”

The congress came just 10 days after the KMT set in motion plans to force Hung out of the Jan. 16 election. The party’s Central Standing Committee on Oct. 7 unanimously passed a motion — without putting it to a vote — to hold a provisional party congress aimed at changing the candidate and forging party unity.

With unusual speed, KMT headquarters finalized the date for the congress only five days later, before the committee on Wednesday passed another motion calling for Hung’s nomination to be rescinded, in an effort to create a basis for the congress’ plan to put Hung’s candidacy to a vote at yesterday’s convention.

In her opening address earlier to the special congress, Hung said she had qualms about “troubling party representatives to come here again” to deliberate on her presidential nomination.

“Reminiscing about the cheering [I received] at the July 19 national congress, I am here today in the same place and with the same group of people, but the ideas harbored in their minds might be vastly different than they were three months ago,” she said.

Hung said the KMT’s disastrous defeat in last year’s nine-in-one elections crushed almost every ounce of the party’s courage to stand up and fight in the presidential and legislative elections.

Early this year, amid a dismal atmosphere, all of the KMT’s heavyweights declined to compete in the upcoming race, despite repeated calls from party members and supporters, Hung said.

“To spare the KMT from potential ridicule stirred up by having no one to contest the elections, I shouldered the responsibility and joined the primary in the hope of encouraging other party members to come forward at such a difficult time for the party,” Hung said.

Having fulfilled the KMT’s primary requirements of signature and poll thresholds, Hung said she is the first KMT presidential candidate to be nominated through the party’s democratic primary mechanism.

“The Republic of China [ROC] has been a beacon of democracy for all people of Chinese ethnicity. The decision reached at today’s congress will not only be closely watched by KMT members, but also by Taiwanese and every ethnic Chinese who cares about democracy,” Hung said.

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