Hung Hsiu-chu moves supporters to tears in a concession speech after the vote.
Taiwan’s embattled ruling Kuomintang party voted overwhelmingly today to nullify the nomination of Hung Hsiu-chu as presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
812 of the 891 delegates present at the emergency party conference in Taipei voted to ditch the highly unpopular nominee who was running about 20 percentage points behind the leader of the pro-independence opposition, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Hung Hsiu-chu who has traditionally taken a pro-unification stance, won the party ticket after a meteoric rise at a time when other senior figures were unwilling to step up to the plate.
Speaking to supporters after the vote, Hung said, to loud applause, “The party can abandon me, but I wont give up on the party.”
Priority to the extraordinary party meeting today, Hung has had to fend off accusations that she demanded NT$500 million ($15.3 million) from party headquarters in exchange for her withdrawal.
Party chairman Eric Chu is now widely expected to lead the Kuomintang into an uphill battle in January’s elections to elect the 14th President, Vice President and members of the 9th Legislative Yuan.
Chu is unlikely to win the presidency, but the party hopes he will save it from a humiliating defeat that could see it lose control over the legislative agenda in the parliament.
In remarks before today’s meeting, Tsai Ing-wen, the buoyant opposition leader widely tipped to be Taiwan’s first female president, said , “I think what the people of Taiwan are most concerned about right now isn’t who the Kuomintang will nominate as its candidate. They’re hoping for a change in the government of the day.”