Sat, Dec 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmaker denies presidency plan behind poll idea

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou, center, speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) yesterday dismissed speculation that his proposal for the party to decide its 2020 presidential candidate through public opinion polls is designed to block or pave the way for a specific party member’s presidential bid.

Lin made the remarks in an interview with Hit FM radio host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) just days after the Chinese-language United Daily News published a joint op-ed by Lin and former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) calling for party reform.

“In last month’s mayoral and commissioner races, the KMT garnered 68 percent of the seats, putting 62 percent of the nation’s total population under its governance. This is a victory for the KMT, but all party members know that it does not mean public recognition of the party,” they said in the op-ed.

To regain public trust and prepare for the 2020 presidential and legislative elections, the KMT needs an overhaul, transforming itself into a party more in sync with communities and public opinions, as well as being more Internet-savvy, they wrote.

To achieve that goal, the KMT should decide its presidential candidate for the 2020 race through polls and encourage the middle and younger generations to join the primary process, they said.

They also proposed that the presidential candidate should become the KMT’s natural leader to ensure better coordination between party headquarters and legislative candidates.

The proposals have been interpreted as an attempt to force older KMT members to take a back seat.

Some reports said the proposal was Lin’s way of getting revenge against KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) after Wu did not nominate him as the party’s Hsinchu County commissioner candidate in the Nov. 24 elections.

Asked about the proposal, Lin said that Wu would not necessarily lose in a primary if the party adopts an opinion poll approach.

“As long as you are willing to change your way of doing things, everyone stands a chance,” he said, citing the case of Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

Lin also denied that the proposal was designed to block Wu from running for president, or to increase the chances of outgoing New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) making another run for the presidency.

During the interview, Chou called on KMT Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華), whom Lin said is at Wu’s beck and call, to give his opinion on the polls proposal.

The selection method the party uses for presidential candidates has always been a combination of opinion polls — weighted at 70 percent — and surveys of party members (30 percent), Lee said.

“However, if more than half of the candidates in a primary agreed to only use public opinion polls, we would comply,” Lee said.

Separately yesterday, KMT Central Committee member Sean Lien (連勝文) said that there would not be a great difference between only using public polls and using them alongside party member surveys.

The most important thing is for candidates to clearly convey their ideas and policy platforms, Lien said.

There have been calls within the KMT over the past 10 years for the torch to be passed to the next generation, but that is yet to happen, Lien said.

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