Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators have initiated a petition to urge party chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) to run for president, while Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said the party would be “left to die” if no one comes forward soon to announce their intention to run next year.
A day after it was revealed that former interior minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) might wade into the impasse, KMT lawmakers petitioned Chu to throw down the gauntlet to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
At the KMT caucus meeting yesterday, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) was busy circulating a petition in the meeting room to collect attendees’ signatures.
Photo: Lin Yu-shan, Taipei Times
“Chu is the only person in the party who could still possibly have a close fight with Tsai; he is the only option we have. It is also possible that he could fail to win in the end, but it all depends on how well the pan-blue camp can work together as a team,” Wu said.
KMT Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) said it is “Chu’s responsibility as the party chairman, not his right, to run for president [on the KMT’s ticket].”
Wu said the petition has so far received strong support, with close to 40 legislators signing. That would amount to a majority in the KMT caucus, which has 64 legislative seats in total.
“I will not make public the list of the names of those who have signed the petition,” said Wu in response to concerns by some KMT lawmakers that the petition would divide the party.
“I don’t see the meaning of this petition, which will only split the party in two and feed the media with hubbub about KMT infighting between pro-Chu and pro-[Legislative Speaker] Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) factions,” KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said. “It only puts party members in a difficult position.”
KMT Legislator Lu Chia-chen (盧嘉辰), who has always been considered pro-Wang, was said to have protested to Wu at the meeting, requesting Wu also place Wang and vice president Wu Deng-yih (吳敦義) on the petition for impartiality.
Hung said on Thursday — and reiterated yesterday — that the KMT would be “left to die” if the candidacy situation remains unresolved.
“If you are afraid of [taking action], then don’t even come out [to joint the race],” Hung said yesterday when told that potential candidates might be afraid to make their moves too early.
She called on those willing to fight to stand out or be more clear on where they stand, including the party chairman.
“If Chu really doesn’t want to run, he should also expound on his decision,” she said.
Wang continued to assert that he has no such plan “for the time being,” and said he would respect the party’s nomination process, which has not yet started.
Separately yesterday, Chu reiterated his promise to see out his term as mayor until 2019.
Chu said he had positioned himself as the “general manager” of the KMT team.
“The KMT is a team of lots of good players. Whoever is willing to participate in [the presidential election] will serve the interests of the party,” Chu said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
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