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KMT chair says primary will proceed as planned despite Wang's interest

KMT chair says primary will proceed as planned despite Wang's interest

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu (???) said Sunday the ruling party has one presidential hopeful who has qualified for the primary, which will be held in accordance with the KMT's rules, despite an indication by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng that he would be willing to compete if drafted. "Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (???) is now the only contender," Chu told the press, when asked to comment on a statement by Wang earlier in the day that triggered speculations about a possible draft by the KMT. Chu said he was pleased and grateful to hear Wang express his willingness to run if he is drafted by the KMT as a contender, but the party's procedures must be followed. KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (???) also commented on the matter, saying that at this stage "there is no issue of a draft." The primary procedure has begun and if Hung gains more than 30 percent support in the process, she will be nominated as the KMT's 2016 presidential candidate, in keeping with the party's rules, Lee said. Wang Jin-pyng (???), a KMT heavyweight who has been legislative speaker since 1999, responded Sunday to reporters' questions about a possible KMT draft, saying "I'd be duty bound" to run if drafted as the party's 2016 presidential candidate. "I'll respect the party's decision," Wang said. Wang and Chu were seen as the two leading candidates for the KMT's presidential nomination. However, Chu has maintained that he wants to complete his second four-year term as New Taipei mayor, which he won last November, while Wang showed no interest in competing in the KMT primary. Political observers have said that KMT heavyweights were reluctant to come forward because the party is likely to face another defeat in the 2016 presidential race after the drubbing it took in last year's local elections. While the KMT appeared stuck in a dilemma until Hung came forward in mid-April, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wasted no time in selecting its chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (???) as its presidential candidate. As part of its primary process, the KMT will hold an opinion poll on June 12 and 13. If Hung fails to win at least 30 percent support in the opinion polls, the KMT can decide not to nominate her and may choose to draft a different candidate. The KMT's primary poll has two components that carry equal weight -- an approval poll that will focus on Hung's support ratings and a comparison poll that will compare her support ratings with Tsai's. Hung, who is visiting the outlying island of Kinmen, said Saturday she was glad to see that "people are now willing to shoulder (the responsibility)" but the primary must be completed before the party takes its next step. Vice President Wu Den-yih (???), who was acting KMT chairman before Chu was elected as party leader in January, said he will spare no effort to campaign for whoever is selected as the KMT presidential candidate. According to a TVBS poll conducted June 2-3, in a three-way race between Hung, Tsai and independent candidate Shih Ming-teh, Hung will gain 31 percent support, Tsai 32 percent, and Shih 2 percent. Hung's ratings have improved significantly since May 21, when the polls were showing 17 percent support for her in the three-way race. (By Claudia Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-21 05:03 GMT+08:00