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Wu Den-yih wins KMT chairman election (update)

2017/05/20 22:57:57

Wu Den-yih (left third)

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) won the election for chairman of Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), on Saturday, and now faces a big challenge to unify and energize the struggling party.

Speaking after his victory, Wu called for solidarity, saying that without unity, the party will not have a chance to succeed. He pledged to engage in party reforms and work hard to regain the trust and support of young people.

He also noted that the party needed to start planning soon for the the 2018 mayoral and magistrate elections and the 2020 presidential election.

If the KMT regains power, it will respect the "1992 consensus" to ensure the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, he said.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang-led government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

The KMT announced that Wu collected 144,408 votes, or 52.24 percent of the votes cast, to win the six-way election that also included incumbent KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).

Hung finished second with 53,063 votes, while Hau collected 44,301 votes.

The three other candidates, former Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co. President Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), former KMT Vice Chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and former Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛), were left far behind.

According to the KMT, there were 476,147 people eligible to vote in the party chairman election, and 276,423 participated, for a turnout rate of 58.25 percent.

It was the first time that a KMT chairman election had attracted so many candidates.

Wu's first task after winning the election will be to unify the badly divided party and give it new direction and a clear voice as it has floundered since losing both the presidential and legislative elections in early 2016.

The 69-year-old Wu first worked in a newspaper as a reporter and began his political career after he was elected Taipei City councilman in 1973.

He returned to his hometown to run for Nantou County magistrate and won the election, becoming the youngest local chief at the age of 33.

He later served as Kaohsiung mayor and KMT secretary general and vice chairman, and as a legislator and premier.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu)
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