Alexa

KMT members edgy as party seeks candidates for 2016 elections

KMT members edgy as party seeks candidates for 2016 elections

Voices in the KMT are becoming more strident as the party still has not taken any substantive steps toward finding a nominee for the 2016 presidential election, which is now less than a year away. Various groups in the party are calling for Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to step forward and take up the challenge while others support KMT Chairman Eric Liluan Chu as the most logical candidate, and still others are saying that Vice President Wu Den-yih or even former Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan should take advantage of the reluctance of the frontrunners to grab the nomination.

On Monday KMT Legislator Wu Yu-jen expressed what many party members are thinking, saying that the DPP is still showing evidence of the momentum it gained in the 9-in-1 elections last November. Wu said the KMT needs to act as quickly as possible to put forward a slate of candidates the party can stand behind to whip up enthusiasm in the run-up to the consolidated elections January 16 next year.

President Ma Ying-jeou has decided to try patching up some of the rifts among party members following his struggle to oust Wang Jin-pyng from the party, announcing a dinner party for KMT legislators including speaker Wang on March 30. Ma himself will host the banquet along with Eric Chu and Premier Mao Chi-kuo, with the festivities taking place at the headquarters of the Army Association in Taipei.

Monday night a different dinner party featuring a number of KMT legislators including Chou Shou-shun, Huang Yi-chao, Cheng Li-wen and Hsu Shu-po will take place, with the evening expected to culminate in a show of support for Wang Jin-pyng as the party’s candidate in 2016.

At the same time, KMT officials are sending out questionnaires to local party headquarters to determine which incumbent legislators plan to run again for office next year. The poll is expected to take several days to complete and the results should be available within a week.

Party sources indicate that any incumbent legislator who wishes to stand for election simply needs to fill out the form and return it to the local party headquarters. If no one else expresses a desire to compete in the primary for a given constituency, the incumbent will automatically be nominated as the party candidate.

In districts where challengers arise, the party will carry out an internal poll to assess support for the incumbent. If the incumbent holds a clear lead over the challenger or challengers – set by the party as a margin of 5% or more – the incumbent will be named the nominee. If the margin between the incumbent and a challenger is less than 5%, the party will set up a primary election. Party insiders say this process should yield a full slate of candidates by mid-April at the latest.