Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

DPP to pick candidate; KMT bickers

Staff writer, with CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is ready to start the process of nominating a candidate for president, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) continues to disagree on how to select its presidential nominee.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who has fared poorly in opinion polls when matched against potential opponents in next year’s election, is being challenged for the DPP nomination by former premier William Lai (賴清德).

The DPP, which hopes to nominate its candidate by next month, said it would attempt to persuade the two candidates to run on the same ticket, or convince one to drop out of the race.

If persuasion does not work, the party said it would select a candidate by having five firms run a series of public opinion polls.

Asked yesterday about media reports that Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) were trying to persuade Lai to back out of the primary, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that he was unable to verify the reports.

He added that the party’s leading figures were capable of resolving the situation.

KMT spokesman Ouyang Lung (歐陽龍) on Friday said that the KMT would select its presidential candidate at the party’s national congress in late July or early August.

Asked if waiting would put the KMT at a disadvantage, Ouyang said that it would allow the party to field its “strongest candidate.”

Several KMT members, including former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), former Taipei county commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) and former Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), have declared their intention to run in the party primary.

However, many party members are urging the party to choose Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) as its presidential candidate.

Han has consistently scored the highest among KMT hopefuls in opinion polls, despite only taking public office on Dec. 25 last year.

In selecting a presidential candidate, the KMT has decided to follow its usual process: 70 percent public opinion polls and 30 percent party member opinion polls.

About selecting Han, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that the party would reserve the right to choose Han, even if it was a mere one in 10,000 chance.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin

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