Tue, Jan 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Wu Den-yih mulling KMT chairperson bid: sources

RESERVED:Wu Den-yih has been tight-lipped on his aspirations about the KMT chairpersonship, but the stance of his wife has been more apparent, sources said

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Lin Liang-sheng  /  Staff reporters

Former vice president Wu Den-yih, second right, attends an event in Kaohsiung on Dec. 27.

Photo: Huang Hsu-lei, Taipei Times

Amid controversy over the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) upcoming chairperson election, a rumor has emerged that former vice president Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) supporters are to draft a declaration of candidacy for him, should he decide to respond to growing calls within the party to run against KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).

While the former vice president has not made up his mind over whether to throw his hat into the ring, his aides have completed some of the necessary preparations and are to start drafting a declaration, said sources with connections to Wu’s camp, who requested anonymity.

The declaration is to be authored by a former journalist, the sources said, adding that members of Wu’s camp are uncertain whether the draft would see the light of day, as a draft announcing Wu’s candidacy in the KMT’s chairperson by-election in March last year did not.

Members of the pan-blue camp who are against Hung are pressing Wu to run in the KMT chairperson election, scheduled for May 20, sources said, with dozens of members of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee paying him personal visits last month.

“While Wu has remained tight-lipped on whether he will join the race, the stance of his wife, Tsai Ling-yi (蔡令怡), has been more apparent,” the sources said, adding that when pan-blue camp members visited her husband, Tsai showed them media articles on Hung supporters’ attacks against Wu.

However, some KMT members have proposed that the party’s next leader be chosen via intraparty negotiations, as there have been concerns that Wu’s candidacy could tear the party apart.

Despite KMT members’ hopes of keeping the party united, the likelihood of the KMT chairwoman agreeing to the selection of the party chair by negotiation is small, a source close to Hung said on condition of anonymity.

Such a presumption is in line with the implication of Hung’s remarks in an interview with the Chinese-language United Daily Evening News published on Sunday, in which Hung said she “has an incurable sense of mission toward the KMT and cross-strait ties.”

Acknowledging that she plans to seek re-election, Hung said during the interview that it is nevertheless her job as party leader to focus on the tasks her post entails, rather than letting the goal of getting re-elected dictate her every move.

Meanwhile, another potential challenger to Hung, KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), has been evading questions on whether he intends to vie for the KMT’s top job, although his interest in the post is obvious in the eyes of some party members.

The problem is that the anti-Hung faction in the KMT is not satisfied with Hau and believes that only Wu is capable of defeating her, a source said.

“Hau is nothing but a back-up plan. He would be the anti-Hung faction’s only option should Wu decide not to join the election,” the source said.

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