Tue, Jan 26, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Hung shrugs off reports of KMT members quitting

CHAIRMANSHIP ELECTION:KMT Legislator Apollo Chen has joined the race, as the deputy speaker continued to fend off rumors about internal strife over her candidacy

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday dismissed speculation that some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators might quit the party if she wins the chairmanship by-election.

“Since a party chairperson is elected with the support of a majority of party members, it means that most members agree with that person’s ideas and have decided to let that person take the party helm,” Hung said in Taipei, when asked to comment on the reports.

Hung, who has been branded a champion of rapid unification due to her “one China, same interpretation” proposal, said the only explanation is that people who differ in their ways simply cannot take counsel with each other.

Hung made the remarks after meeting with members of a newly formed alliance called the Structure Defenders” (制度者聯盟).

Established yesterday by scores of KMT representatives and Central Committee members, the alliance has seven aims: holding a debate on the KMT’s future policy direction, revitalizing the KMT’s young forces, establishing a bottom-up policymaking mechanism, cultivating young talent, ensuring transparency of party assets, strengthening ties with people at the grassroots level, as well as lowering thresholds for party chairman election and holding a televised debate and policy presentation among candidates.

Hung said she is willing to participate in a debate on the KMT’s future direction, but it is up to each and every party member to decide to whom they aspire to entrust their party.

As for continued concerns within the KMT about her cross-strait stance, Hung said she is the one to blame because she has failed to elucidate her policies.

“I will surely explain them in the future, but not now,” she said.

KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), who won re-election in the Jan. 16 polls, yesterday threw his hat in the bid for party chairperson, saying his decision was prompted by three reasons.

“First, only a handful of the KMT’s middle-aged members managed to secure victory in the recent elections. As one of them, I cannot sit back and watch while the KMT faces its most difficult time,” Chen said.

The 58-year-old said he also wanted to help the KMT determine the causes of its landslide defeat and create a bottom-up democratic mechanism within the party.

Chen said he had consulted with many peers before making his decision, including former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), but declined to reveal whether Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who is reportedly interested in vying for the position, was one of them.

Chen is the fifth KMT member to join the by-election, after Hung, former KMT vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), as well as Taipei City councilors Lee Hsin (李新) and Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平).

According to KMT headquarters’ schedules for the by-election, which is planned for March 26, applicants can pick up registration forms for the election today and tomorrow.

They also have to collect signatures from at least 3 percent of all party members between today and Feb. 21 before they can officially register their candidacy on Feb. 22.

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