TAIPEI, Taiwan - Senior Kuomintang (KMT) politicians yesterday mulled changes to their presidential primary rules before a central standing committee meeting convenes to finalize the procedures on April 8.
Party leaders and lawmakers will finalize the scheduling and formal procedures for the KMT's presidential and vice-presidential ticket for the January 2016 nationwide election.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said he "checked" with KMT Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan about the timetable for the party's nomination schedule before leaving for an official visit to Japan.
So far, only Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu announced last week that she would seek the party's nomination, while party heavyweights including KMT Chairman Eric Chu and Vice President Wu Den-yih have not formally announced their intentions to run for presidential office.
Current Party Policy Questioned
According to Lee, the party's procedure and timetable for its presidential and vice-presidential nominees will be discussed and finalized on Wednesday during its weekly Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting.
Already before the meeting, KMT leaders and lawmakers have criticized the party's current nomination system, which operates on a system that allocates votes from party members (30 percent) and public opinion polls (70 percent).
"Due to the party's current state, I think the time has passed when a decision for a nomination was made behind closed doors," said Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung.
She recommended that the party adopt nomination procedures that eliminated the 30 percent allocation from party members to reduce the perception gap between the public and the party's ideas.
CSC member Lin Jung-te, an ally of Legislative Speaker Wang surmised that if the party did not adopt a nomination system based entirely on public opinion polls, the KMT could suffer further from outside criticism and internal division.
KMT Lawmaker Lu Chia-chen urged the central committee to seriously consider the ramifications of keeping the current system, which might repeat division similar to the Taipei City mayoral nomination battle between Sean Lien and KMT legislator Ting Shou-chung.
Lee said that any changes proposed during Wednesday, if passed, would be reflected on an updated party procedure for the primaries. The final version will be made public on April 15.
According to KMT regulations, potential candidates in addition to completing application forms must gather the signatures of 5 percent of all KMT party members (approximately 17,000 signatures) by mid-May.
Mirroring Opposition Policy?
The Democratic Progressive Party currently utilizes a nomination system that is based completely on public opinion polls. It scrapped a 30-70 allocation system used currently by the KMT in January 2011.
Party officials indicate that basing nominations entirely on public opinion polls rather than party votes allowed the DPP to garner more mainstream support. In 2013, a move within the party to resume the 30-70 allocation system was flatly defeated
The DPP nominated party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen as its presidential candidate on Feb. 15.