Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) has said she is open to the idea of handing over the party’s reins earlier than scheduled, but she accused former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the chairman-elect, of condoning his subordinates spreading rumors painting her in a bad light.
In an interview published in yesterday’s Chinese-language United Daily News, Hung said that despite appointing former presidential office secretary-general Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) as spokesman for matters concerning the leadership handover, Wu has allowed his supporters to spread rumors giving the impression that she is reluctant to step down.
That hurts the KMT, she said.
Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Taipei Times
Wu’s supporters want the 20th KMT national congress — scheduled for Aug. 20 — to be moved ahead of the election of KMT Central Standing Committee and Central Committee members, which would go against the rules established at the party’s 18th national congress when Wu was the KMT secretary-general, Hung said.
The 17th national congress was held concurrently with the elections, which plunged the proceedings into a turmoil, she said.
As the party charter stipulates that the chairperson election should be held three months ahead of a national congress, and the rules on committee member elections were established during previous Central Standing Committee meetings, she simply wants to uphold the rules, Hung said.
She also criticized Central Standing Committee members aligned with Wu for staying silent about election rules during earlier meetings only to clamor for a change now for political gain.
Most of the members have served consecutive terms and were part of the decisionmaking process, she added.
Hung said she is open to a “flexible” approach to the handover and would resign early if need be, but she is against changing the election rules.
Wu’s supporters have said she wants to have full control over the nomination rights for the elections, but every KMT member who wants to run for a seat on the central committee were nominated for previous elections, Hung said.
Of the 160 or so members of the Central Committee who are seeking re-election, about 20 support her, while more than 50 support Wu, Hung said.
According to the rules, she and Wu can nominate candidates, but if Wu wants to turn the committee elections into a “winner-takes-all” game, she would voice her objection during the next Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, Hung said.
Wu’s camp said it would mediate between the majority of Central Standing Committee members and the Hung camp to settle the dispute over the election rules.
It is “good news” that Hung is willing to hand over the leadership sooner than scheduled, KMT caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) said.
The majority of Taiwanese want to see the KMT rise again after the chairperson election,” Sufin said.
“The Democratic Progressive Party is on the decline and the public has high expectations of the KMT,” he said. “I hope that the incoming and outgoing chairpersons can discuss how to best carry out the transition.”
Meanwhile, a poll released yesterday by the KMT Youth Party Reform Alliance showed that a majority of party representatives want Hung to carry out the transition of power sooner than scheduled.
The poll, which collected 340 valid samples, showed that 64 percent of party representatives want the handover to be completed as soon as possible, while 36 percent said it should be carried out as scheduled.
The alliance called on Hung to complete the handover this month so that Wu can start working on strategies for next year’s local elections.
Alliance member Sheng Lin-hui (盛琳惠) said a quick handover would give the KMT more time to boost its approval ratings.
Several posts in the KMT — such as the directors for the Culture and Communications Committee and the Organization and Operation Department — are vacant and the quality of the party’s promotions have suffered as a result, Sheng said.
The problem can only be ameliorated by making new appointments after the handover, she said.
KMT party representative Chang Hui-min (張惠敏) said one of Wu’s campaign promises was to push for direct elections of KMT chapter heads.
If the handover can be completed sooner, it would help facilitate efforts to amend the election rules and the election could be held as early as September, she said.
If Wu can become chairman this month, the party can begin conducting surveys in October on prospective candidates for next year’s elections and nominate candidates in November, which would give the candidates a year to campaign, Chang said.
Dragging out the handover until August would cost the party many opportunities, she said.
Additional reporting by Chen Fu-yu and CNA
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