Taipei, May 15 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) decided Wednesday to change the format of its presidential primary for the 2020 election to a single nationwide opinion poll and to name its candidate by late July.
The KMT Central Standing Committee approved the rules, guidelines and timetable for the nomination process for the 15th presidential election at meeting earlier in the day.
Under the newly adopted rules, the party has dispensed with the part of its primary that comprised a vote only by its registered members.
Instead it will pick its 2020 presidential candidate based solely on the results of a public opinion poll that will be commissioned to five different polling institutions, each with a sample size of not less than 3,000, the KMT said.
The candidate with the highest average score will represent the party in the presidential race.
The Central Standing Committee has rejected a suggestion by KMT presidential hopeful Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., that cellphone users be included in the poll.
The KMT said its research has shown that cellphone polling is not well-established in Taiwan currently, which means the credibility of cellphone polling might be questioned and could lead to technical problems.
Two other KMT aspiring candidates also commented on the change, with former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) saying he had no problem with it, while former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said he thought the rules had been changed to favor some other candidates.
In addition, a five-man coordinating panel comprising KMT Vice Chairmen Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), Vice Secretary-General Tu Chien-teh (杜建德), Organizational Development Committee Director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) and Party Disciplinary Committee Director Wei Ping-cheng (魏平政), was formed during Wednesday's meeting.
Their task will be to inquire among the potential candidates about their intentions to participate in the KMT primary and to assess the mood among the voters.
Each candidate must deposit an election processing fee of NT$5 million (US$160,525) should he or she agree to participate in the primary, according to the KMT.
A list of candidates will be announced June 10, followed by a series of televised forums across Taiwan from June 23-July 4 in which the candidates will introduce their platforms.
The nationwide opinion poll will be held July 5-15 and the results will be released the next day. After that, the results will be submitted to the Central Standing Committee July 17 for approval.
The KMT, largest opposition party of Taiwan, will formally announce its presidential candidate July 28 at its national congress.
Meanwhile, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is still trying to mediate between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her main challenger, former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), to decide who will represent the party in the 2020 presidential election.
Taiwan is scheduled to hold its next general election Jan. 11, 2020. Voters will cast their ballots for president and more than 100 legislators.