Taiwan’s KMT decides to bar cellphone users from its presidential primaries

Foxconn tycoon Terry Gou had been most vocal supporter of cellphone polls

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KMT presidential hopefuls Terry Gou (clockwise), Han Kuo-yu, Chou Hsi-wei, Chang Ya-chung and Eric Liluan Chu.

KMT presidential hopefuls Terry Gou (clockwise), Han Kuo-yu, Chou Hsi-wei, Chang Ya-chung and Eric Liluan Chu. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Kuomintang (KMT) confirmed Tuesday (June 11) it would not include cellphone users in the opinion polls to determine its candidate in next January’s presidential election.

The same issue triggered debate inside the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), where the party in the end decided to conduct half of its June 10-14 opinion polls targeting smartphone users. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had insisted on the inclusion, while her challenger, ex-Premier William Lai (賴清德), had opposed a change in the rules midway through the selection process.

On the KMT side, Foxconn Technology Group founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) was the most vocal supporter of cellphone polls, the Central News Agency reported.

However, a closed-door forum Tuesday was unable to reach a consensus on the issue, and concluded after more than three hours of discussions that the KMT should use its original primary system and order polls entirely based on landlines.

Five candidates officially registered for the KMT primaries. Apart from Gou, they are Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who is riding high in general opinion polls, former New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu (朱立倫), former Taipei County chief Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), and Sun Yat-sen School President Chang Ya-chung (張亞中).

Han and Chu were not present at the forum, but had sent representatives, according to CNA.

Earlier, former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced he would not be taking part in the primaries. He had reportedly hoped that party members would be allowed to vote to determine at least part of the choice for a candidate.

The primaries will take place in mid-July, with the nominee to emerge on July 16, reports said.

The elections for president, vice president and 113 members of the Legislative Yuan has been scheduled for January 11, 2020. In addition to candidates for the two main parties, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is widely expected to run as an independent, though he is likely to wait until the DPP and the KMT have picked their nominees before he makes an announcement.