KMT welcomes Terry Gou’s presidential bid

After learning of Gou’s decision, former President Ma Ying-jeou, who is believed to have encouraged Gou to throw his hat into the ring, said the tycoon was an ideal candidate. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A decision by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou’s (郭台銘)to seek the opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT) nomination as its 2020 presidential candidate has been welcomed within in the party, with some members proposing changes to the eligibility criteria to facilitate his bid.

Some KMT lawmakers are also urging the party to establish specific rules for its presidential primary to avoid internal friction.

Gou said Wednesday while receiving a citation from KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) that he is willing to compete in the party’s primary but will not accept being drafted to run. If he wins, Gou said, he will stand as the KMT’s presidential candidate, and if he loses, he will support the person selected.

Gou received the citation for his contribution to the party after providing an interest-free loan of NT$45 million (US$1.46 million) in the name of his mother in 2016 when the KMT was in serious financial difficulties.

After learning of Gou’s decision, former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) who is believed to have encouraged Gou to throw his hat into the ring, said the tycoon was an ideal candidate.

According to KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), Gou wants to adhere to the KMT primary process and is not seeking any preferential treatment.

Gou’s party membership, however, has become an issue, since the party requires membership for at least four months before entering the presidential primary.

Gou, who first joined the party in 1970, had not maintained his membership after 2000. On Tuesday, he renewed his KMT membership but his eligibility as a presidential primary candidate remained uncertain due to the four-month regulation.

The KMT Central Standing Committee has launched a petition to waive the four-month party membership rule in light of Kuo’s outstanding contributions to the party.

The petition seeks to add a clause to the party’s regulations to waive the four-month requirement for senior KMT members with a positive social image, outstanding professional ability, or a record of major and special contributions to the party.

The petition will be examined during a committee meeting on April 24, according to committee member Tseng Wen-pei (曾文培).

Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said the party should devise rules for its presidential primary so that it can field its best candidate.

KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) also called for the establishment of a proper primary system in view of the expected number of aspirants for the 2020 election.

Another KMT lawmaker, Lin Te-fu (林德福), said several excellent party members have expressed an interest in competing, which is “a good thing,” but the party needs to work out a fair system to allow all eligible hopefuls to take part in the primary.

KMT lawmaker Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖) suggested that the KMT hold a meeting with all its presidential hopefuls to discuss issues related to the primary.

Apart from Gou, the other aspirants are former Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-ping (王金平), former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and former Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), while some KMT supporters have been calling for the popular Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to also enter the race.

Ting Yun-kong (丁允恭), the news department director of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said the DPP respects the rights of all eligible individuals to compete in a presidential election.

Gou’s announcement has attracted great media attention abroad, sending shares of FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai, climbing 28.18 percent to HK$1.41 on Wednesday.

According to the Nikkei, a Japanese financial newspaper, however, if Gou steps down as Hon Hai chairman, it could have a major impact on the company’s operations and create chaos in its Japanese subsidiary Sharp Corp.

By Yu Hsiang, Liu Kuan-ting, Wang Cheng-chung, Fan Cheng-hsiang and Evelyn Kao