by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Kuomintang presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu declared Tuesday she would not trade away her election bid despite mounting speculation that the ruling party was preparing to replace her with its chairman, Eric Liluan Chu.
Statements by the party leader earlier in the day gave rise to new doubts about whether Hung was going to last as a candidate, and as a result she decided to schedule a news conference for 4 p.m.
Despite some expectations that she might withdraw from the race for the January 16 election, her statements indicated a strong determination to continue.
“Everybody should relax, I will insist on running in the election and I will not accept any exchange of conditions,” she said, wondering whether her efforts had not been enough.
“Until today, I’m still not willing to believe that the rumors about changing me are true,” Hung told the news conference.
She also warned the KMT against the consequences of trying to replace her with another candidate.
“If you force me to withdraw from the race, the KMT will lose the trust of the people,” she said, adding that if a party lost its core values, it lost everything. The public would also doubt whether the KMT had truly reformed if it changed its presidential candidate just like that, according to Hung.
The legislative vice speaker has emphasized she became the party’s candidate by registering for its selection process. In the end, she was the only candidate who succeeded in registering for its primaries, and she overcame all hurdles, leading to a KMT congress proclaiming her the official candidate last July 19.
Current developments include a member of the Central Standing Committee filing a motion calling for a new party congress which could decide on a new candidate. The motion is likely to be discussed at Wednesday’s regular CSC meeting, reports said.