Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said Saturday that his party has reached a crucial point where it needs to "adjust its pace and start anew" to boost its flagging presidential and legislative election campaign.
With the elections less than 100 days away, many grassroots KMT members have been expressing feelings of anxiety and helplessness to the party, Chu said in his opening speech at a special party congress held to discuss a proposal to nullify the presidential candidacy of Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).
The proposal was later approved by a show of hands, and Chu was named as the party's new presidential candidate.
"All these reactions by the public tell us that we cannot go on like this," Chi said. "We need to adjust our pace and start anew."
At the start of his speech, he again apologized to Hung for the move to remove her as the party's 2016 presidential candidate.
Chu was among five KMT VIPs who addressed the gathering. The other four were Hung, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).
Ma said he was impressed by the courage demonstrated by Hung, who threw her hat into the ring six months ago when no one else had come forward to compete in the party's presidential primary.
He said the KMT will definitely lose the elections if it is divided, and he called on party members to stand united behind the new candidate selected by the congress.
In his speech, Lien said he appreciated the sacrifice Hung made for the KMT and said he expects Chu to unite the party to "rescue Taiwan."
Wu, meanwhile, praised Hung as the biggest winner, saying that when someone "takes a step back, the world opens up."
(By Claudia Liu, Tang Pei-chun, Tseng Ying-yu and Y.F. Low)ENDITEM/pc