KMT chair hopefuls face off in TV showcase

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Candidates running for the Kuomintang’s (KMT) top post presented their platforms live on TV Saturday, but the media present seemed more interested in knowing whether one of the richest men in Taiwan, Terry Gou (郭台銘), could represent the party in the 2020 presidential poll. Upon their arrival at the China Television Company (CTS), the candidates were asked by the reporters waiting at the entrance about the possibility of Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Group, running on the KMT ticket in the next presidential race. Speculation about Gou’s presidential bid first emerged several months ago, but it has been fueled further by the fact he was seen visiting the White House last week, likely meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. “We’ll have to see what people think,” incumbent KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said in reply to reporters’ questions about the tycoon’s possible political bid. One of her competitors — former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) — has even made it part of his official platform by promising that, if he becomes the KMT chief, he would ask Gou to be the party’s standard bearer in the 2020 vote. Former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) did not respond to the Gou question upon arriving at CTS’s headquarters. But while soliciting support for his KMT chairmanship bid in Taoyuan earlier, Wu told reporters that he had no interest in forming a presidential ticket with Gou leading the campaign. “It’s impossible for me to become vice president again,” said Wu, who was President Ma Ying-jeou’s deputy from 2012 to 2016. Six candidates are competing for the KMT’s leadership. Apart from Hung, Hau and Wu, the other three are former Health Minister Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and former Legislators Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛). During their platform presentation, some of the candidates were eager to blame former President Lee Teng-hui for the decline of the party. Hung claimed that when Lee became the party chairman in 1988, he started a regime of money politics in collaboration with rich and power-hungry people. Hau said that if he became chairman, he would investigate all the party’s investment made during Lee’s leadership, as well as the funding handled by the Taiwan Research Institute that the former president founded in 1994.

He added that party members must be allowed to know the truth about how the KMT assets have been managed. But, he said if the KMT were to recover to a position of strength, it must seek to terminate the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, which has been investigating the KMT.