Taiwan party ditches presidential candidate

Taipei, Oct 17 (IANS) Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party on Saturday dropped its candidate for the upcoming presidential election in January 2016.

Kuomintang congress agreed by 812 out of 891 votes to revoke Legislative Vice Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s presidential candidacy after an hour of debate by party delegates, Taiwan News reported.

She will be replaced by the party’s chairman, Eric Chu.

Hung, who was nominated at a similar congress on July 19, fared poorly in opinion polls, leading KMT leaders to believe that the party would not only lose the January 16 presidential election but also the legislative elections scheduled for the same day.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate is Tsai Ing-wen, who lost in the presidential race in 2012.

The KMT suffered a crushing defeat in local elections last year.

Outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou resigned as party chairman after the poll, which was widely seen as a rejection of his push for close ties with Beijing.

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