by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The special Kuomintang congress on Saturday agreed by 812 out of 891 votes to revoke Legislative Vice Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s presidential candidacy after an hour of debate by party delegates.
The next phase is a meeting by the Central Standing Committee to present a new candidate, who is virtually certain to be party chairman Eric Liluan Chu. The new candidate has to be ratified again by the full congress, which should happen before 5 p.m., reports said.
Hung, who was nominated at a similar congress on July 19, fared poorly in opinion polls, leading KMT leaders to believe that the party would not only lose the January 16 presidential election, but also the legislative elections scheduled for the same day.
Before the congress started, it was not clear how the motion to drop Hung would be handled. During the meeting, the seven-member working group in charge of proceedings decided to hold a vote by raising hands.
The congress officially had 1,607 delegates, but just before the vote, only 891 were listed as present at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei City for the meet.
The voting resulted in 812 out of the eligible 891 delegates agreeing with the party leadership to end Hung’s candidacy.
Hung was not present at the vote. She left immediately after her speech, which followed a short opening address by President Ma Ying-jeou. Chu and honorary chairmen Lien Chan and Wu Po-hsiung also held speeches.
The vote however did not mean the end of proceedings. The Central Standing Committee was still to propose a new candidate, most likely Chu, and to submit that motion to the full congress, again for a vote.
The congress would be concluded by another speech by the party chairman.