Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said that the party has not ruled out forgoing primaries and directly nominating a presidential candidate to improve its chances of victory in next year’s elections.
“I did not say that there would certainly be a stage-two nomination. I only said that was possible,” Wu said on the sidelines of a party event in Taipei.
He said he would consider the possibility, because achieving victory is the party’s most important objective, but added that “we must [decide whether to go down that path] with caution and discretion.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Wu made the remarks when asked to elaborate on a proposal by former Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) that the KMT should adopt a two-stage candidate selection process, choosing the most competitive candidate from a pool of hopefuls who pass the first stage.
Chou on Tuesday announced his own bid for the party’s presidential nomination.
In the second stage, the KMT should consider who its candidate would be up against in the election and decide who is the strongest, Chou said.
When asked to comment on Chou’s proposal on Wednesday, Wu said that the KMT’s candidate selection would only have one stage.
However, he later added: “In extremely special circumstances, where there is a need to consider a stage-two nomination, we cannot completely rule out such a possibility.”
Wu’s comments have led to speculation about a possible repeat of what happened to former deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).
Hung received the KMT’s nomination as its candidate for the 2016 presidential election after she was the only KMT member to register for the party’s primary.
After her support rates took a dive over her radical comments on cross-strait relations, she was stripped of her candidacy by the KMT just months before the election and replaced by then-KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫).
Following the Democratic Progressive Party’s poor showing in the local elections on Nov. 24, more KMT members have announced their participation in the coming presidential primary.
Chu and former premier Simon Chang (張善政) have also announced presidential bids.
KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who served as legislative speaker for nearly 17 years, is to announce his presidential bid on Thursday next week.
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