Taiwan’s governing party has called a special congress to consider the drastic step of dropping its unpopular presidential candidate just three months before an election that will set the tone for all-important relations with Beijing. In a rare race between two female leading contenders, Hung Hsiu-chu, a straight-talking legislator from the ruling Kuomintang or Nationalist party, has fallen more than 20 percentage points behind the frontrunner, opposition politician Tsai Ing-wen. The KMT, which has ruled Taiwan for much of the period since it fled mainland China after losing the civil war with the Communists in 1949, decided on Wednesday it would hold the extraordinary meeting to “gather consensus and unite for victory”.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province. A victory for the opposition Democratic Progress party would strain relations with mainland China as Ms Tsai’s DPP takes a more strident position than the KMT on Taiwan’s independence.
The KMT was trounced in local elections last year, as voters voiced their frustration over the high cost of living and Taiwan’s growing economic dependency on mainland China.
Eric Chu, KMT chairman and mayor of New Taipei, said in a speech that candidates for the legislative elections, which will be held at the same time as the presidential contest in January, were concerned about the effect Ms Hung was having on the party’s popularity.
Full Article: Taiwan’s KMT reconsiders presidential candidate – FT.com.