Tue, Feb 23, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Four register for KMT chairman race

RED PEPPER REDUX:Hung Hsiu-chu said the chairpersonship is a heavy responsibility, but she was prepared to shoulder it with a ‘steadfast, modest and aggressive heart’

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) acting chairwoman Huang Min-hui, center, holds up the registration form for the party’s chairperson by-election at KMT headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Four candidates for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson yesterday vowed to reform the party following its defeat in last month’s presidential and legislative elections, as they registered their candidacy for the by-election next month.

KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) was the first to complete the registration process at KMT headquarters in Taipei yesterday morning, bringing 24,179 signatures from party members — easily exceeding the threshold of 9,600 signatures, or about 3 percent of all KMT members.

“During my signature-collecting process, many KMT members expressed their concern that the party would be finished if it continues to mire itself in ideological divisions between pro-localization and rapid-unification factions,” Chen told reporters.

He said it was an outdated issue and the party should stop concerning itself with pseudo-issues such as this, adding that he would advocate the “middle way” if elected chairpman.

Chen was followed by acting KMT chairperson Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), who submitted 67,926 signatures, accompanied by Central Standing Committee member Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), former KMT Chiayi Branch director Chen Cheng-kuan (陳政寬) and other party members.

“The KMT’s repeated defeats signal the need for a complete overhaul. The key to regaining our strength lies in the party’s structures. There are many capable people at the party’s grassroots level and it is imperative that we put the right people in the right positions,” Huang said.

Widely seen as a member of the KMT’s pro-localization faction, Huang said localization has become a subject of political manipulation.

The KMT should listen to and communicate with the public because it was diversity and tolerance that enriched this island, Huang said, adding that mainstream public opinion favors the KMT adhering to the middle way.

Huang’s main opponent, former deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), showed up in the afternoon with 84,822 signatures.

“Each signature represents a party member’s expectations of me. It is a heavy responsibility, but I am prepared to shoulder it with a solemn, steadfast, modest and aggressive heart,” said Hung, who also ran as the party’s presidential candidate before she was replaced by New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).

Hung, nicknamed “Little Red Pepper” (小辣椒) because of her outspokenness, said she planned to solidify consensus within the party within the shortest possible time, using her spirit of openness, unaffected style and humble attitude.

She also pledged to usher in reforms, reinvigorate people’s passion about the party and repolish the “KMT brand.”

Asked about the party’s stance on localization, Hung said it was pseudo-issue because the KMT has long taken root in the country and become localized.

Last to register was KMT Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新), who showed up with his sleeves and pants rolled up in an apparent move to demonstrate his determination to get down to work.

Lee, who obtained 28,775 signatures, said the party’s future should not be decided by a select few, but rather by all party members through dialogues.

“If elected chairman, I will be the first party chair to wear only jeans and sneakers. I will live wherever the people want me to, staying in city after city to have face-to-face communications with grassroots party members,” Lee said.

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