《TAIPEI TIMES》 Some in KMT see Gou as chair
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou pays his respects at former president Chiang Ching-kuo’s mausoleum in Taoyuan’s Dasi District on Monday. Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times
ACUMEN NEEDED: Terry Gou running for party chair has gained backing by party members, but KMT headquarters said it is too late to change the by-election rules
By Chen Yun / Staff reporter
With no Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） heavyweights so far having expressed an interest in becoming party chair following the resignation of Wu Den-yih （吳敦義）, some KMT members are calling for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou （郭台銘） to enter the race.
To shoulder responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, Wu and other top-ranking party members on Wednesday resigned en masse, while KMT Central Standing Committee member Lin Rong-te （林榮德） took over as acting chairman until the new party head is picked in a by-election on March 7.
Some KMT members have proposed that the KMT Central Standing Committee amend the party’s charter to allow “people from outside the party” to serve as party chair, sources within the party said yesterday.
The proposal has gained the backing of 20 committee members and more than 200 party representatives, and is gaining traction among KMT members, the sources added.
Gou, who withdrew his KMT membership in September last year, is an outsider to the party, but would “go down in history” if he could save the party from the brink of ruin, the sources said.
Gou’s corporate management insight could save the KMT, they said, adding that although his departure from the party — following his loss in the KMT’s presidential primary in July last year — was criticized, at least he did not run in the presidential election or openly support another party’s presidential candidate.
Wu’s own political ambition has led some members to the misunderstanding that whoever becomes chair has an eye on the party’s presidential nomination, the sources said, adding that having “an outsider” serving as KMT chair could be rationalized if accompanied by a pledge not to contend for the party’s nomination.
The party lacks someone capable of leading the party through a revival, while harboring no ambition to run for president, the sources said.
No younger members seem willing to step up and lead, they said, adding that members are not enthusiastic about former president Ma Ying-jeou （馬英九） or former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu （朱立倫） leading the party again.
Yonglin Foundation chief executive director Amanda Liu （劉宥彤） said that Gou’s attitude remains unchanged, which is that the KMT should resolve its own issues.
Gou’s aides would refrain from responding to speculation to avoid making waves for the KMT, she added.
Later yesterday, KMT headquarters rejected the possibility of Gou running in the by-election, saying that the party has promulgated the by-election rules and cannot change them to allow a non-party member to run.
Former Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei （周錫瑋）, KMT Central Committee member Sean Lien （連勝文） and Chu are reportedly planning to run for chairman, but no petition has so far been launched in favor of any candidate by grassroots KMT supporters.
The KMT rules previously stated that if no candidate secured more than 50 percent of the votes, a second round of voting for party chair would be held, but the rules were changed in 2018 to stipulate that the candidate with the most votes would win.
The revised rules state that if two candidates get the same number of votes, then another vote must be held within 30 days, and that a recount can be requested if the margin between two candidates is less than 0.2 percent, while an uncontested candidate must obtain at least half of the votes to be elected.
Rules on overseas members have become stricter, with overseas members needing to have joined or resumed membership for a year, not four months, before being allowed to vote.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang