After months of beating around the bush, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said he is planning to announce his presidential bid next month.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event held by Taichung’s Federation of Labor Unions, Wang was asked to explain two images he posted on Facebook on Tuesday. They each depicted a garlic bulb on a white background, with one at the center and the other at the bottom of the image.
The centered garlic bulb was accompanied by the word suan (蒜, meaning garlic), which is a homophone of the Hoklo pronunciation of the Mandarin word xuan (選, running for office), while the caption for the other read: “suan to the bottom” (蒜到底), a play on words that can also mean “running all the way.”
Photo: Chang Jui-chen, Taipei Times
Wang said that the images were open to interpretation, but also represented his intention to announce his presidential bid next month.
Despite increasing debate within the party over how and when the KMT should hold a primary for next year’s presidential race, Wang said he did not have an opinion on the matter and that he would respect any decision made by party headquarters.
There have been debates about whether the next KMT presidential candidate should be chosen based on public opinion polls, or a combination of public opinion polls and KMT member surveys as the party has done in the past, with the results weighing 70 percent and 30 percent respectively.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who is rumored to also be interested in running for president, is believed to be a supporter of the KMT’s traditional primary mechanism, as it would give him a better chance of winning the primary, despite his usually low public support ratings.
Wang yesterday also clarified his involvement in the KMT’s controversial decision in 2015 to replace its then-presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) with then-New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) just months before the 2016 presidential election.
On Monday, the former legislative speaker said in a radio interview that he had agreed to Chu’s proposal to run for the presidency in Hung’s stead before the candidate swap.
Yesterday, he said that he was not involved in the KMT’s decision-making process regarding the removal of Hung, adding that he was approached by Chu only after the decision had been made.
However, Wang said that Hung had approached him multiple times before she registered for the party’s presidential primary, telling him that she would not register if he wanted to run for the post.
Separately yesterday, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urged KMT members to let bygones be bygones for the sake of party unity and not bring up the candidate swap.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-shen
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