All hopefuls, including Han, to be in KMT primary

SEEKING THE ONE::Some Central Standing Committee members tendered a motion to have the primary based solely on opinion polls, but no decision has been announced

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Wednesday decided to include all potential presidential candidates, including Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), in its primary to select the party’s candidate for next year’s presidential election.

During the weekly KMT Central Standing Committee meeting, the party adopted a resolution to put in place special guidelines for the nomination of its candidate, so that all potential hopefuls could be included in the primary.

The committee also decided that the nomination schedule would be announced next month and that the primary would not begin until after June, the KMT said.

Several committee members tendered a motion to structure the primary solely on opinion polls rather than a 70-30 weighting of public opinion polls and member votes — the method the party in February said it would adopt.

KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) did not announce a decision on the motion at the meeting.

KMT Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said that the motion would be dealt with after all of the party’s presidential aspirants have been consulted.

The resolution came one day after Han told reporters: “At this time, I cannot join the primary under the existing system.”

Han said that while he did not want to enter the KMT primary, he felt the need to take responsibility for the development and defense of Taiwan.

The statement was interpreted in some quarters to be an indication of Han’s interest in running for president, even though he was hesitant to take part in the primary in case he was seen as abandoning Kaohsiung too soon after his election in November last year.

Han’s reluctance to enter the primary prompted his supporters to urge the party to change its nomination guidelines.

At the meeting, Wu issued an instruction that all presidential hopefuls would be included in the primary, whether they actually sign up, KMT spokesman Ouyang Lung (歐陽龍) said.

This is expected to also benefit Hon Hai Precision Industry chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who has said that he intends to seek the KMT’s nomination.

Despite having long been a KMT member, the tycoon has not renewed his membership for several years, leading his party rights to be restricted.

Under current party regulations, members are not qualified to take part in a primary unless they have held full membership for at least four months.

Other KMT hopefuls are former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and former Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋).

Media polls show that Han has more public support than Gou.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang