by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The majority of the members of the Kuomintang’s Central Standing Committee have signed a petition calling on the party to replace Hung Hsiu-chu by chairman Eric Liluan Chu as its presidential candidate, reports said Wednesday.
The news came just hours before the CSC was scheduled to meet to discuss the possibility of holding a special KMT congress later this month, where the change could be made official.
At least 27 of the CSC’s 39 members had signed the petition, reports said. Most of the KMT body’s members are little known to the outside public, though the signatories to the petition also included prominent lawmakers such as Lu Hsueh-chang and Huang Chao-shun.
The motion, initially submitted by CSC member Chiang Shuo-ping, was reportedly amended to include a direct reference to the party chairman.
If party congress delegates found difficulties in campaigning for the candidate, or found it hard to raise the candidate’s momentum, in order to save the party and its legislative candidates, the signatories asked to change the original presidential candidate and asked Chu to take his responsibility, the new text reportedly read.
While it would be up to the CSC and the KMT congress to change the candidate, the Ministry of Interior also warned of other consequences. Hung, who was officially nominated on July 19, would have to stop accepting political donations, present a report within three months and hand the funds to the Control Yuan, reports said.
KMT expects protests
Police were preparing to handle protesters outside the Kuomintang headquarters Wednesday afternoon, though uncharacteristically the protesters were expected to be supporters of the party’s presidential candidate, Hung Hsiu-chu.
Inside the building, the party’s Central Standing Committee was expected to discuss a proposal to hold a special congress later this month at which Hung could be replaced by party chairman Eric Liluan Chu as candidate in the January 16 presidential election.
Hung said Tuesday she would not accept any backroom deals and would run until the end.
Her insistence received support from several quarters, including former Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsien, who said KMT founder Dr. Sun Yat-sen was probably “crying in his grave” over the attempt to replace her.
However, police and KMT were reportedly more worried about a call for a siege of the headquarters by Chang An-lo, the leader of a small pro-unification party who is better known as “the White Wolf,” a nickname from his days as a top figure in Taiwan’s organized crime.
More than 100 police officers were on head outside the KMT building and barriers had been erected to keep protesters away from the party meeting and from its participants.
During the morning, an elderly man had disrupted a news conference by a KMT official in the building’s lobby with shouts in favor of Hung.