Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu says run at Taiwan presidency on KMT ticket would have to be on his own terms

24-Apr-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:38 AM Print This Post

Han Kuo-yu, the popular mayor of the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, has hinted at running for president in next year’s much-anticipated election.

But, without elaborating, he said on Tuesday that it would be difficult for him to join other aspirants of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) in the primaries.

Han also chided the KMT for trying to push him towards a run for the primaries, saying that under-the-table political manoeuvres were unacceptable at a time when people wanted reform.

He was referring to a KMT plan to draft him into the primaries without consulting him.

“I love the Republic of China, and I am willing to take all the responsibilities as long as it can help boost the development of the ROC,” he said, using Taiwan’s official name for itself.

Han, a member of the opposition KMT, sensationally overturned predictions in last year’s local elections to win the key port city of Kaohsiung by a landslide. His popularity was widely credited as a reason behind the KMT’s victory in 15 of Taiwan’s cities and counties.

In most opinion polls, Han leads the field of potential candidates, including President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, by a wide margin.

Han is seen as a Beijing-friendly mayor. Last month, he met Wang Zhimin and Fu Ziying, the directors of Beijing’s liaison offices in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Shenzhen Communist Party chief Wang Weizhong.

He said he supported the “1992 consensus”, a verbal understanding reached in that year between the Communist Party and the KMT that there is only “one China”.

Han’s announcement came after Foxconn’s billionaire chair, Terry Gou, said he would contest the KMT’s presidential primaries, a move that shook the island’s political landscape.

Gou, 68, said that regardless of whether he remained an entrepreneur, he strongly believed Taiwan needed to maintain “peace, stability, the economy and the future”.

He called on the KMT to rebuild its “core spirit” to serve the country and the people, regain its honour and support young people.

Former New Taipei mayor Eric Chu; Wang Jin-pyng, the former president of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan; and former Taipei county magistrate Chou Hsi-wei have already announced plans to enter the race.



Category: Taiwan

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