Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday downplayed growing calls within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for him to run for president next year, urging the public “not to think too much” during the Lunar New Year holiday.
Han on Nov. 24 last year became the first KMT candidate to win the Kaohsiung mayoral election in 20 years after a meteoric rise to fame.
“Do not ask me if I am going to run for president,” Han said yesterday as he visited a temple in the city. “Let’s just enjoy the holiday and not think too much.”
Photo: Huang Chia-lin, Taipei Times
Boosting the city’s economy is his priority at the moment, Han said, adding that he has seen signs of improvement and increased happiness among Kaohsiung residents.
In light of the KMT’s regained public support, senior KMT members including former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have expressed their intent or are rumored to be planning to run for president.
In light of the potentially fierce competition, former KMT Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) on Thursday proposed that party headquarters, as a rule, only nominates candidates who command higher or similar support ratings to Han’s in opinion polls.
Asked about Tsai’s proposal in an interview on Friday, Wu said that he has asked a KMT think tank to evaluate the matter, and suggest a date and procedure for the presidential primary.
“He has my blessing, whether he plans to improve his city or serve the entire nation,” Wu said when asked about the calls for Han to run.
Asked the same question yesterday, Chu said that making Taiwan a better place is what motivated him to enter politics.
“The most important goal for 2020 is not personal victory, but rather a victory for the entire KMT,” said Chu, who announced a presidential bid after completing his second term as mayor in December.
Ma yesterday also responded positively to the growing support for Han.
“It would certainly be nice if he is willing to run,” he said.
Additional reporting by Wang Chun-Chieh and Wu Chun-feng
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