After Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on Friday apologized to supporters while saying he would not be joining the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential primary, some KMT lawmakers reacted angrily, blaming KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), with some calling for Chu’s resignation as chairman if the party ends up with a less-than-satisfactory candidate.
KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said Chu, Wang and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) are all possible candidates who could meet party members’ expectations. However, none of the three signed up for the party’s primary before the deadline passed yesterday.
“Chu and Ma should take the responsibility” if the party fails to field a strong candidate and loses next year’s presidential election, Lin added.
Chu must be held accountable if the KMT as a ruling party cannot field an influential candidate, as a chairman should shoulder the responsibility to engage in intra-party coordination and find a candidate who is likely to win, Lin said, adding that if Chu cannot solve the issue, “what is the point of him being the chairman?”
Lin said that Ma, as the nation’s leader and holding the highest government position in the party, should have gathered Chu, Wu and Wang to discuss the issue several months ago.
The KMT should field an appropriate candidate and a nation’s leader should not let its people down, Lin said.
“First [Ma should] apologize, then tell us how the KMT can present a candidate with good prospects,” Lin added.
Former KMT Taipei city councilor Yang Shih-Chiu (楊實秋) also called on Ma, who resigned as KMT chairman after the party’s crushing defeat in last year’s local elections, to “let go” of his grip on the party and to stop putting personal interests before those of the party or the party’s interests before national interests.
A lawmaker who asked to remain anonymous said the rules of the game have been constantly changing and the KMT is flustered.
“Chu and Ma should be held accountable for it,” the lawmaker said, adding that as the KMT is in a downturn, it is not possible to have Wang shoulder all the responsibility by himself, if, indeed, Ma ever allowed him to represent the party.
Though Wang, Chu and Wu have not joined the primary, the party appears to have not given up hope of fielding one of the three for next year’s presidential election.
It is said that former health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) is the key to whether the party resorts to “conscription,” as if Yaung passes the signature collection threshold and is registered as a contender, the possibility of conscription would be extremely remote.
The KMT’s primary rules state that if only one registered contender passes the signature threshold, they would have to be subjected to a poll, in which the potential candidate has to garner at least 30 percent support, without which the party could reject their nomination.
If Yaung and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who also signed up for the primary, both pass the signature threshold, unless coordination between the two is fruitful, Hung and Yaung would enter a poll race in which both party members’ votes and the numbers of a public poll are counted, with the winner securing the party’s nomination.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang
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