Taipei, April 24 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) decided Wednesday to include all its presidential hopefuls, including Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), in its primary to select the party's candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
The KMT's decision-making body, the Central Standing Committee, adopted a resolution to put in place special guidelines for the party's nomination of its 2020 presidential candidate, so that all the potential hopefuls can be included in the primary.
The committee also decided that the nomination schedule will be announced in May and that the primary will not begin until after June, according to the KMT.
The resolution came one day after Han indicated in a statement that he had no wish to run in the primary "under the existing system at this point in time."
In a statement he made to the press, Han said that while he did not want to enter the KMT presidential primary, he was willing to take on the responsibility of the future development of the Republic of China (Taiwan) without consideration of personal gain or loss.
The statement was interpreted in some quarters to be an indication of Han's interest in running for president, even though he is hesitant to take part in the primary in case such a move could be seen as him abandoning Kaohsiung so soon after his election as mayor last November.
Han's reluctance to enter the KMT primary prompted his supporters to urge the party to change its nomination guidelines so that Han could be allowed to be the KMT's presidential candidate.
In Wednesday's committee meeting, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) issued an instruction that all presidential hopefuls can be included in the primary, no matter whether they actually sign up or not, said KMT spokesman Ou-Yang Lung (歐陽龍).
This is expected to also benefit Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Co., the world's largest contract electronics maker, who has voiced his intention to seek the KMT's nomination.
However, despite having long been a KMT member, the business tycoon has not renewed his membership for several years, leading his party rights to be restricted.
Under the current party regulations, its members are not qualified to take part in a primary unless they have held a full membership for at least four months.
In addition to Han and Gou, the other KMT presidential hopefuls are former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and former Taipei Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋).
The latest media polls show Han with a higher public support rating than Gou in a presidential match up.