Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday struck a different tone on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential primary, saying that he would respect any arrangements made by KMT headquarters or the Central Standing Committee, including pitting him against other aspirants in a public opinion poll.
“Given the current situation, I cannot be included in opinion polls on the presidential election,” Han said. “As Kaohsiung mayor, I shoulder the expectations of Kaohsiung residents.”
“If party headquarters or the Central Standing Committee needs Han Kuo-yu in some way to make all kinds of arrangements, including opinion polls, I will respect” their decision, he said.
He made the remarks following a closed-door meeting with KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) at party headquarters in Taipei.
He also thanked Wu, first for nominating him as KMT Kaohsiung chapter chairman and then the Kaohsiung mayoral candidate in last year’s local elections.
Han said that he, Wu, and KMT vice chairmen Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) agreed at the meeting that the party must concentrate all their strength and unite ahead of next year’s presidential election, thereby protecting the Republic of China.
Responding to reporters’ questions on whether he would be the KMT’s candidate if he emerged as the front-runner in polls, Han only said: “What I just said was something I have never said before.”
Asked whether he and Wu talked about other KMT members who have expressed an interest in joining the KMT primary or how the primary would be conducted, Han said the model for yesterday’s meeting would be followed by other potential candidates.
He denied that his relationship with Wu had soured, saying that he is on friendly terms with his “former boss,” with whom he had a cordial meeting.
Asked whether he would make any clearer move to make known his desire to join the KMT primary, he said that with the party’s nomination rules still in limbo, he could only respect KMT headquarters’ decisions.
KMT Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said that the party is inclining toward drafting primary rules that the race be solely based on opinion polls.
Wu is to meet separately in the coming days with former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and former Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), all of whom have publicly stated their intention to take part in the primary, to seek their opinions on the primary rules, Lee said.
The primary rules and schedule could be passed by the Central Standing Committee by the middle of this month, while the KMT’s presidential candidate could be selected in early July and approved during the KMT National Congress on July 28, he added.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang
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