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Chu responds to rumors of bid to have Hung quit presidential race

2015/10/06 11:59:31

KMT Chairman Eric Chu.

Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) confirmed Tuesday he has discussed with the party's presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) growing calls for her to drop out of the race and promised to assume any responsibility involved.

"As the party chairman, I am duty bound. If needed, I must assume all responsibility," he said.

Chu described his conversations with Hung as giving her a truthful picture of her poll numbers and public reaction to her candidacy, but he did not acknowledge he had asked her to pull out of the race.

The KMT chairman said that during their discussions, Hung asked him who would carry her burden, to which he answered that he would assume full responsibility.

Chu was responding to reports that he had met with Hung on several occasions to try to persuade her to voluntarily step aside, but to no avail. According to the reports, Chu said that if Hung were willing to do so, he would take over her responsibility.

Calls for Hung to quit the race have been mounting within the KMT as she trails front-runner Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party by wide margins in the polls.

Some polls even have her behind James Soong (宋楚瑜), the chairman of the minor opposition People First Party.

If Hung refuses Chu's calls for her to step aside, the party's Central Standing Committee, which is due to meet Wednesday, will likely resolve to call a special party congress to nominate Chu, said a party official who declined to be named.

Hung vowed on Tuesday to continue on her presidential bid.

"I cannot think of a reason to quit at the moment," Hung told CNA.

She dismissed the calls for her to quit the presidential race as "unreasonable," arguing that she was officially nominated in accordance with the KMT's by-laws and that there was no stipulation in the by-laws to replace a nominee simply because his or her support rating could not be maintained at a certain level.

(By Wang Hung-kuo, Lee Shu-hua and Y.F. Low)

●Oct. 6: KMT's Hung insists she's in the presidential race to the end