Taiwan Ruling Party Closer to Naming Presidential Nominee

Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang Party took a step closer to naming its nominee for next year’s presidential elections after polling at the weekend showed the current vice president of the legislature is a viable candidate.

The survey, conducted June 12 and 13 to gauge how favorably voters viewed Hung Hsiu-chu and how she might fare against the opposition party’s nominee, determined her to be a viable candidate, Kuomintang Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan said at a press briefing Sunday. The party’s central committee will meet Wednesday to finalize a roster to be put before a party congress on July 19, where a formal nomination will take place.

“I can’t think of any variation that I won’t be nominated by my party,” Hung told reporters after the results were announced. “I will work harder to earn everyone’s support before the national congress meeting.”

The election scheduled for Jan. 16 will end the reign of the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou, who was first elected in 2008 and served the two-term limit. One of the main issues will be Taiwan’s relationship with China -- with the KMT in favor of closer ties with the mainland than the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

In April, the DPP named chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who ran against Ma in 2012, as its nominee for president.

Two of the KMT’s most senior members, Chairman Eric Chu and legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, have said they won’t seek the party nomination.

“If I get to be nominated by KMT, I hope the two female contenders can give people a brand-new campaign, set a new model of democracy,” Hung said, referring to DPP’s Tsai.

Hung, who has served as the deputy leader of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan since 2012, last week called for the signing of a peace treaty with China in a party address, the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported. Hung was previously a high school teacher and holds a masters degree in education from Northeast Missouri State University, according to her profile on the legislature’s website.

Taiwan and China have been ruled separately since 1949 when the Communist Party forced the KMT to flee the mainland after a civil war.

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