Sun, Feb 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Wu’s plan for 2020 candidate panned

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih comments on the party’s process for selecting its presidential candidates while talking to reporters in Kaohsiung yesterday.

Photo: Huang Chien-hua, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) proposal to only allow KMT members to decide the party’s presidential candidate for next year continued to draw criticism yesterday, with some questioning whether he aimed to rig the game for himself.

It would be unthinkable if KMT members who are loyal to the party and have regularly paid their membership fees were excluded from the process of selecting the party’s next presidential candidate, Wu said on Thursday.

“If we choose not to conduct a poll among party members, it is a no brainer that [the public] would want to select someone who would be easily defeated,” Wu said, adding that many KMT Central Standing Committee members also believed that the rights of party members should not be undercut.

He added that he also agreed with some people’s suggestion that the person nominated to be the next presidential candidate should also serve as KMT chairman.

There are growing calls within the KMT for the party’s next presidential candidate to be chosen solely on the results of public opinion polls, rather than the traditional method, which combines public opinion polls and party member surveys, with the results weighing 70 percent and 30 percent respectively.

The proposed “party member only” primary polls are expected to put Wu, who is rumored to be interested in running for president next year, at an advantage, as he received the support of the majority of KMT members in a six-legged 2017 party chairperson election, despite having a consistently poor public approval rating.

Former KMT chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) criticized Wu’s proposal on Friday, saying that the will of KMT members could not represent the will of the people and that a presidential primary based solely on public opinion polls would be simpler and fairer.

She also raised concerns about “dummy members,” who are recruited for the sole purpose of driving up ratings.

The practice of setting up a system for the purpose of ensuring, or impeding, one’s nomination as candidate runs counter to Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen’s (孫逸仙) idea that “the world community is equally shared by all” (天下為公), former KMT lawmaker Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) said yesterday.

He also questioned why Wu only heard the suggestions of KMT members supporting “party member only” polls, but not the “deafening calls” for a primary based solely on the results of public opinion polls.

The question of how the primary should be conducted was being deliberated by the KMT’s think tank, Wu said, adding that its decision is expected to be announced in April.

Additional reporting by Huang Chien-hua

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