Criticism directed at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) from within the party are inappropriate and unfair, former KMT chairman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀住) said yesterday, while denying a rumor that the party is seeking to replace Han with Hon Hai Precision Industry founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) for the presidential race.
KMT Central Advisory Committee member Chen Hung-chang (陳宏昌) on Sunday said the party nominated a candidate who knows nothing but playing mahjong, womanizing and drinking.
Hung said the criticism was “sad to hear,” but added that Chen “was not that kind of person,” citing their years as colleagues in the legislature.
Regardless of whether he has changed over the years, grew distant from the party or felt that Han was not the best candidate, it was inappropriate and unfair to make such comments, even if they were made to “give face” to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Hung said.
Chen made the remarks while accompanying Tsai on her visit to New Taipei City’s Yonglian Temple.
As for Chen likening the KMT revoking his membership to an act by the Red Guards, Hung said the party would lack discipline if it took no action against him, adding that she would respect Han’s decision whether to take Chen to court.
As for rumors that Gou would partner with former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and is waiting for the KMT to switch candidates, Hung said that it is impossible for the party to do so unless Han bowed out himself.
Hung said the party should have a “pocket candidate” as contingency, but added that its chances of winning the presidential election on Jan. 11 next year would “not be optimistic” if it swapped candidates at the last moment again.
In October 2015, four months before the 2016 presidential election, the KMT replaced then-presidential candidate Hung with then-New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), who lost the race to Tsai.
The current electoral situation is worrisome, Hung said, but added that she is certain that Gou is sincere in his intention to “do something” for Taiwan.
The KMT’s presidential primary results were no doubt a great setback for him, Hung said.
Gou last month lost the primary to Han by 17 percentage points.
Hung called on the public not to criticize Gou and Wang too much and said that the party should give their supporters some time to calm down.
The KMT should try to keep them within the party, as “unity makes strength,” Hung said.
Hung said she did not know whether Gou would run as an independent and renounce his party membership, adding that she was also unclear about Wang saying: “Heaven knows what will happen ... but I am a man of my word,” while promising not to leave the KMT.
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