by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Kuomintang’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday approved a motion to cancel Legislative Vice Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s presidential candidacy at the October 17 congress, while chairman Eric Liluan Chu again apologized to her.
As her poll ratings failed to perform well, last week’s regular CSC meeting approved a proposal to hold a special party congress where Hung could be replaced by Chu as the candidate for the January 16 election.
It was later decided to hold the congress this Saturday, October 17. Wednesday’s CSC decision confirms that the party will indeed discuss the cancelation of a decision by the previous congress, last July 19, to nominate Hung as its candidate.
She has said she will accept the congress decision, though she has also said she wants to discuss the issue with each delegate and put her case across to the party members. Some of her supporters are also expected to gather outside the venue to protest against the KMT’s handling of the issue.
Wednesday’s CSC motion had reportedly been signed by at least 25 out of 39 members, making it certain beforehand it would pass.
At the meeting, Chu apologized to Hung for the third time this week, saying he had not meant to cause her so much inconvenience. Her replacement was necessary to save the party and should not be interpreted as a power struggle, the chairman said, emphasizing the need for solidarity beginning at Saturday’s congress. “The adversary is not within the party,” he reportedly said.
Chu meanwhile has also faced criticism because if everything develops according to plan, he will be combining three functions: chairman of the KMT, mayor of New Taipei City, and presidential candidate. Critics have said he should at least give up one of his functions. If he decides to resign as mayor of New Taipei, a by-election will be necessary in order to fill his shoes. Chu was one of only six KMT candidates to win in the November 2014 local elections, and only by a smaller margin than expected.
Vice President Wu Den-yih denied media reports Wednesday that he would take over as KMT chairman if Chu resigned from that post.