Thu, Jan 21, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT’s Hung to run for chairpersonship

POLL POSITION:Some KMT members on Tuesday turned to social media to urge support for Vice President Wu Den-yi in a poll on the ‘United Daily News’ Web site

By Chen Feng-li and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu, left, yesterday announces her bid for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairpersonship during a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday announced her bid to enter the race to lead the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), saying the party is on the edge of collapse and the by-election for its chairpersonship is crucial to the party’s rebuilding efforts.

Hung told an early evening news conference in Taipei that she is willing to “be the first to bend down, pick up the pieces and rebuild,” vowing to rediscover the party’s core values.

She said that, if given the opportunity to lead the KMT, she would help build a team to take over the leadership in the future, employ more talent and encourage members in their prime to be more proactive.

Hung, whose presidential nomination was rescinded by the KMT in October last year following controversy over remarks she made — such as advocating “one China, same interpretation” — said that she felt “exhausted” after her stint as presidential candidate, but added that the KMT would be “swept away like dust” if it fails to reform.

On Monday, KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) officially stepped down from the KMT’s chairmanship to assume responsibility for the party’s crushing defeat in the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday.

A KMT source said the party initially planned to have people interested in running for the post pick up registration forms tomorrow or Saturday, after which they would have 10 days to collect endorsement signatures from qualified KMT members.

The date for registration was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31, with election day set for Feb. 27, the source said.

However, following discussions at a meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee yesterday afternoon, the election was delayed from Feb. 26 to Mar. 26.

Political observers have speculated the delay is a bid to forestall Hung’s chairmanship run by buying time for the party’s establishment to change voter qualification rules, and thereby dilute her electoral base with an infusion of younger and more centrist members.

Other people said to be likely to run for the post include Vice President Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) and former Taipei mayor and KMT vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).

Nantou-based politicians and grassroots KMT members on Tuesday mobilized on social media to vote for Wu in an online poll for potential KMT chairperson candidates, a move that implies Wu might launch a bid for the position.

The poll, held by the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN), a media outlet believed to be influential in the pan-blue camp, asked users to vote on who they think would be most likely to change the KMT if they were chairperson.

The field consisted of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Wu, Hau, Hung and former Taichung mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).

People are allowed to vote once every hour.

As early as Tuesday morning — the apparent opening time of the poll — Wu’s KMT supporters, particularly those based in Nantou, began sharing the link to the poll through Line, a popular messaging app, calling on other Wu supporters to vote.

As of yesterday afternoon, Hung was the frontrunner, with Wu in the second place.

Wu’s supporters in Nantou said he is ideally placed for party leadership as he had avoided the controversy surrounding the KMT’s replacing of Hung with Chu as presidential candidate, in addition to scoring a “home-run” victory in Nantou, where he helped to re-elect KMT legislators Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) and Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華).

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