Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - Page 3 News List

KMT fears primary’s repercussions

By Lin Liang-sheng, Chiu Yan-lin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writers

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih talks to the media in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is concerned that an acrimonious presidential primary could dim its chances of winning next year’s election, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) told reporters yesterday.

Asked if the party’s rank-and-file should be worried about the implications of a heated primary, Wu said that “anxieties would certainly not be out of place.”

The KMT is urging is presidential contenders to conduct themselves in a way that would not hinder the party’s efforts to support the eventual nominee, he said.

However, it would not interfere with normal campaign activities that follow the nation’s laws and the party’s rules and decisions, Wu added.

His comments came a day after one of the party’s presidential aspirants, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), held a large rally in Hualien County.

“Rallies are a natural part of the process, some of which are spontaneously organized by supporters,” Wu said. “It is possible that Han was invited to a rally, or that his campaign headquarters had planned events for him.”

Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said he has no plans to hold rallies for the primary, as he is focusing on policy issues, adding that “get rich is just a slogan.”

“I am optimistic about the party’s primary and I welcome fair competition from my colleagues,” Chu said. “The process makes candidates be at their best, rather than putting one another down. The the best and most suitable candidate will carry the day.”

In related news, KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who withdrew from the party primary, would still attend events organized by his now-defunct campaign.

A source in the Wang camp, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed disappointment with the KMT primary, saying: “Only the forces of black and gold are left of the KMT, black being local political factions and gold being the two super-rich people.”

The two rich people is a reference to Hon Hai Precision Industries chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), a supporter of Han.

“The KMT has completely abandoned localism,” the source said. “Local factions let Wang down, not the other way around.”

“Anything is possible in this KMT primary and it is not over until it is over,” the source said.

The former legislative speaker has a stable base of support at 20 percent to 25 percent of the public that stays out of the limelight of the rally circuit, but is capable of growing, the source said.

In other developments, the Gou campaign denied media reports that he holds dual-citizenship.

The tycoon has always been a Republic of China citizen and has never held citizenship in the US, Singapore, or any other nation, it said in a statement.

“Gou’s heart is right in Taiwan, where he put the headquarters of his global corporation,” it added.

Additional reporting by Lee Jung-ping and CNA

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