By Yuan-Ming Chiao ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (������) announced in a morning press conference yesterday at the Legislative Yuan that he would not seek the nomination to become the Kuomintang’s (KMT) candidate for the 2016 presidential election, with his statement stopping short of ruling out an election bid altogether.
The 74-year-old veteran legislative speaker, who has held the position since 1999, read his three-minute, pre-written statement at 10 a.m. after his aides alerted the media just 15 minutes beforehand. In it, he thanked his supporters and apologized for not being able to ��fully convince the people that I can shoulder great responsibilities and meet the expectations from all sides.�� Lawmakers close to Wang said he decision was borne out of the desire to maintain party unity. The wording of Wang’s statement included five separate mentions of unity, emphasizing that the KMT needed to remain unified to preclude the further splitting of society based on political divisions. He said that the ��grand unity�� of the KMT concerned the continuation of Taiwan and the R.O.C. alike, and not the long-term calculations of an individual or party. Wang also urged that ruling and opposition parties work together in passing key legislation to improve people’s lives. Although he did not answer questions immediately following his statement, when asked later about whether he would run for president despite having no intention to pick up the KMT’s application forms for this purpose, Wang asked that reporters not probe further on matters relating to the election.
Headquarters Mum Following Wang’s statement, the KMT headquarters was low-key and did not provide any additional comments. With the Saturday deadline for registering for the party’s presidential primary approaching, KMT heavyweights including Chairman Eric Chu (���߭�) have not expressed intentions to run for president, leaving rank and file party officials and members dumbfounded. Vice President Wu Den-yih (�d���q), who has repeatedly emphasized that he would not seek the presidency, yesterday said he respected Wang’s decision. Chu, who has repeatedly emphasized that he would serve out his term as New Taipei mayor (which ends in 2018) and not run for president, is expected to make a formal statement today on his intentions.
Currently, only two prominent members of the party including Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (�x�q�W) and former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (���Ө}) have announced their intention to seek the presidency. Yaung said while he respected Wang’s decision, he was of the opinion that the speaker was particularly suited to mount a presidential campaign under the KMT banner.
The KMT will hold a national convention on July 19 to decide on its presidential candidate. The candidate will be selected by a combination of opinion polls and a vote by party members. The average of two polls will account for 70 percent of the final result and the party members’ vote �X to be held on June 14 �X 30 percent.