TAIPEI (CNA) — The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) plans to hold national polls to select its presidential candidate from July 6-14, officially nominating the candidate on July 28, according to a primary election plan released by the party on May 14.
A KMT Central Standing Committee on Wednesday is expected to pass the plan, which includes a timetable and a list of 5 mediation group members to coordinate arrangements prior to the polls, a source familiar with the matter said.
According to the plan, the group will be comprised of KMT Vice Chairmen Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), KMT Vice Secretary-General Tu Chien-teh (杜建德), Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) and Party Disciplinary Committee director Wei Ping-cheng (魏平政).
The party will announce the list of candidates taking part in the presidential primary on June 10. Thereafter, the candidates will choose polling companies and agree rules for one major policy presentation forum before June 14, with the forum televised on a date between June 23 to July 4, according to the plan.
KMT Central Standing Committee member Tseng Wen-pei (曾文培) said Tuesday that most committee members have agreed that the party should only use landline polls and no primary debate will be held as in previous primaries, rejecting proposals for the inclusion of cellphone poll respondents and a debate between the candidates from Terry Gou (郭台銘), one of the KMT presidential hopefuls.
A KMT source told CNA that the primary candidates will pick five polling companies, which will collect at least 3,000 samples from respondents reached by landline. Although no official announcement has yet been made, in previous years an average of the poll results has been used to determine the outcome.
In addition to Gou, the other KMT presidential hopefuls are Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and former Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋).
In contrast, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party is engaged in a tough head-to-head primary battle with former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), raising concerns over party unity even after the primaries are completed.
The DPP had originally planned to hold a primary between the two in mid-April but delayed it until May to leave more time to find a compromise solution.
However, the former premier has insisted in following the democratic processes laid down by the party.
If the situation remains unchanged by May 22, Tsai and Lai will hold policy presentation forums from May 24-26, followed by a primary consisting of one or more public opinion polls from May 27-31.
The DPP presidential nominee will be announced on June 5.
Taiwan’s next presidential and legislative elections will be held concurrently on Jan. 11, 2020.
By Yu Hsiang and Chung Yu-chen