Let the race begin

By James Lo, The China Post

Steve Chan (詹啟賢) might announce his candidacy for the Kuomintang’s (KMT) top position on today — just six days after resigning as vice chairman. Chan’s resignation was widely reported to have been the result of him not seeing eye to eye with incumbent Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) — one of four contenders who have already thrown their hats in the ring. Speaking during a book launch also attended by other prominent KMT members, Chan said he was indeed “seriously considering the possibility of running” but played down speculation he would announce his candidacy today. The burden of leading the party was not to be taken lightly, he said, and promised to reveal his decision before Lunar New Year. Chan also dismissed the claims of tension between him and Hung, saying their disagreements had always been civil. The book being launched at the event was a glowing history of the KMT written by former Grand Hotel Chairman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮). Aside from Hung and Chan, the event was also attended by former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), KMT Honorary Chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), as well as Deputy Chairmen Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Jason Hu (胡志強). The event marked the first time the three leadership front-runners — Hung, Wu and Hau — had appeared in public together since the latter two had announced their candidacies. The fourth official candidate, Han Kuo-yu, was not in attendance. Speaking first, Wu Po-hsiung applauded the candidates for their sense of responsibility to the party and said he was extremely pleased to see so many qualified party members bidding for the leadership. During her remarks, Hung painted the growing number of candidates as an advantage, saying that competition would bring out the best in all of them. Hung was due to arrive in the United States today on a trip during which she will meet supporters in San Francisco, Chicago, Huston and Los Angeles.

Ma Keeps Quiet Also Friday, former President Ma Ying-jeou joined former Premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) as well as KMT chairmanship hopefuls Hau and Hung in paying respect to former Taiwan leader Chiang Ching-kuo on the 29th anniversary of his death. During the event at the Cihu Mausoleum in Taoyuan, Ma kept mum when asked who he was supporting in the race. Unsurprisingly, Hau Pei-tsun was happy to oblige when asked to pick a favorite, saying he would be casting his ballot for his son Hau Lung-bin, whom he described as a selfless candidate with extensive political experience.