The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) potential candidates for the 2020 presidential election are sparring over the rules for the party’s presidential primary.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Wednesday dismissed calls within the party to select its presidential candidate through public opinion polls only, rather than a combination of opinion polls and surveys among KMT members.
Wu, who is rumored to be interested in running for president next year, said the KMT had tried before to decide its candidate based solely on public opinion polls.
Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times
However, not only had the polls been inundated with suspicious votes, but the candidate who was nominated based on the results was later replaced after more than 800 KMT representatives voted to support the change, Wu said.
He appeared to be referring to an incident in October 2015, when former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) replaced then-deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.
Chu on Dec. 25 last year said he intended to vie for the KMT’s presidential nomination.
On Friday, he said that the 2016 race was not the only time the KMT had used opinion polls, as they had been used in some mayoral and county commissioner elections.
“[Deciding a candidate] based solely on public opinion polls will be a more acceptable method to the public,” Chu said, adding that he believes all party members would be able to unite in their support for candidates as long as they are selected using a fair and open mechanism.
Wu yesterday said that the KMT had tried using an array of methods to decide its candidates, including using public opinion polls only, votes among party members, votes among party representatives, and a combination of public opinion polls and party member surveys.
The method most preferred by the party’s candidate hopefuls would be open to discussion, he said, adding that nominating a candidate based on party members’ votes would be similar to the mechanism adopted by the US.
“There is no right or wrong method. As long as we choose the most appropriate method at the time, that is the right method,” he said.
A survey published by the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank on Dec. 20 showed that in a hypothetical two-legged race against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Wu would be the only one of three possible KMT candidates who could not beat Tsai.
The other two candidates were Chu and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
KMT Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) on Friday said that the party would use public opinion polls only if the method is preferred by more than half of the candidate hopefuls.
Otherwise, the party would use a combination of opinion polls and party member surveys, with their results weighing 70 percent and 30 percent respectively, Lee said.
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