Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should have clear rules about its presidential primary, after KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Saturday said that the party headquarters is leaning toward throwing Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) hat in the ring on his behalf.
Asked about the possibility of recruiting Han for next year’s presidential election on the sidelines of a public event in Taipei, Wu said it would not be right to give the mayor special treatment.
“We need to handle this in a fair manner,” Wu said, adding that an ideal approach would be to register Han’s name for the primary on his behalf and let him compete with the other candidates.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Chu, who was the first KMT member to announce his presidential bid, said that the party should not confuse the public by combining different mechanisms and calling it “recruitment-style primary” or “primary-style recruitment.”
“It is either recruitment or primary,” Chu said.
Asked whether he would still compete in the primary if the party headquarters “recruited” Han by throwing his hat into the ring, Chu said that he could not answer a hypothetical question.
Reached for comment yesterday, Wu said he has considered every possible alternative and believes that the best outcome would be for the party headquarters to register Han for the primary.
It would be embarrassing for Han to do so, as he was elected mayor not long ago, he said.
Wu said that once Han is registered in the race, the party would conduct the primary and select a presidential candidate based on a previously agreed method.
“This would be the fairest and most selfless approach,” he said.
Wu also pushed back against Chu’s criticism that the party headquarters kept changing the rules of the primary, saying there were also no system in place to replace a presidential candidate before October 2015, when Chu replaced Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who was selected in a primary, as the KMT’s presidential candidate for the 2016 race.
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