The Chinese Nationalist Party’s plan to set a date and new guidelines for its presidential primary could be postponed after the party canceled KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) planned meetings with former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
The KMT had originally planned to pass the guidelines and set a date for the primary in a Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday and announce the results on Wednesday next week.
However, the party on Saturday canceled Wu’s planned meetings with Chu and Wang after Chu insisted that the meetings be public.
The party would discuss its response before and during Wednesday’s meeting and ensure that things are handled in a way easy for all to accept, KMT spokesman Ouyang Long (歐陽龍) said yesterday.
While the plan to set a date and establish guidelines for the primary could be postponed, they would still be completed by the end of this month as planned, without affecting the primary, he said.
KMT Central Standing Committee member William Hsu (徐弘庭) criticized the decision, saying that the party can no longer afford such delays.
If the party wants to nominate Han, it should do so and bring the case to the committee, he said.
If it is worried about a lack of support, then it should initiate a national convention, Hsu added.
The party must take action now or it would remain stuck on whether to enlist Han in the presidential race, he said, adding that discussing guidelines and a date for the primary before Wu has met anyone “makes no sense.”
Committee member Yao Chiang-ling (姚江臨) expressed a similar opinion, saying that the best way would be for Wu to talk to all potential candidates before passing a set of guidelines that must be followed.
Committee member Tseng Wen-pei (曾文培) urged Wu to be more direct in his approach.
When then-KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) was replaced by Chu in 2015, the party did not discuss the plan with Hung in advance, he said, adding that Wu does not need the consent of all primary candidates.
A majority of low-level party members agree that Han should be enlisted for the presidential race, he said, adding that events could unfold in three ways.
First, the party could set down guidelines and a date for the primary on Wednesday and require all primary candidates to adhere to them, although it would lead to serious divisions later on, he said.
Second, the party could conduct a poll to gauge public support for Chu, Wang and Han, and nominate one of them according to the results without holding further meetings with each candidate, Hsu said.
Third, it could postpone Wednesday’s discussion for the guidelines and the date until Wu has had a chance to meet with all three potential candidates, especially Han, he said.
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