Wed, Jan 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT hopefuls’ plea for election changes denied

By Lin Liang-sheng  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters yesterday shrugged off proposals by two candidates in the party’s May chairperson election to revise the 3 percent signature threshold for hopefuls, saying that the ideas would not be deliberated until the party’s national congress in August.

According to statistics compiled by the KMT, the party had about 890,000 members as of Friday last week, of whom 230,000 had voting rights in the May 20 election.

Estimates say that the number would increase to 300,000 before March 31, the deadline by which candidates have to obtain signatures from at least 3 percent of all eligible party members.

That means each hopeful has to obtain about 9,000 signatures to validate their bid.

KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), both of whom have thrown their hats into the ring, have called for revision or removal of the signature requirement.

There are already far too many requirements to qualify as a candidate, such as experience as a member of the KMT’s Central Committee and a hefty security deposit, Hau said on Monday, adding that the party leadership should revoke unnecessary rules such as the signature threshold.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦) yesterday said that KMT headquarters respects each candidate’s opinion about the signature threshold, but they should nevertheless “follow the rules of the game.”

“According to the party’s regulations for chairperson elections, every candidate must meet the 3 percent signature threshold,” Hu said, adding that KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) is also subject to the requirement.

If any hopeful sees a need for revision of the requirement, KMT headquarters can consider the proposal at the party’s next national congress, scheduled for Aug. 20, Hu said.

However, even if a change is made, it would not take effect until after the election on May 20, Hu said, adding that the election would have to adhere to the current rules.

Hu dismissed Hau’s concerns that some candidates might collect signatures from party members who have already signed for another to sabotage a rival’s bid.

Hu said that the party is discussing adjustments to the signature collection procedure to eliminate the effectiveness of such tactics.

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