It's woman against woman in fight for Taiwan's presidency

Hung Hsiu-chu, the KMT presidential candidate, gestures during the KMT's party congress in Taipei on July 19, 2015.
Hung Hsiu-chu, the KMT presidential candidate, gestures during the KMT's party congress in Taipei on July 19, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI • Taiwan's ruling Kuomin-tang (KMT) party has picked its second-highest ranking lawmaker Hung Hsiu-chu to contest January's election, setting the stage for the island to elect its first female president.

Ms Hung, known as "xiao la jiao" or "little chilli" for her straight-talking style, will run against Ms Tsai Ing-wen, chairman of the main opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, who was nominated in April. This is the first time both major parties have nominated women for the top office.

Ms Hung, 67, was formally named yesterday at the 19th National Congress of the KMT, the China-friendly party's main annual gathering.

Her nomination caps months of speculation over who would run against Ms Tsai in the aftermath of a major defeat in last November's islandwide local elections.

President Ma Ying-jeou conceded his party chairmanship to take responsibility for the losses, and current chairman Eric Chu had declared he would not seek the presidency. Long-serving legislative leader Wang Jin-pyng also signalled he would not join the race.

A former teacher, Ms Hung is currently Taiwan's deputy parliamentary speaker.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'It's woman against woman in fight for Taiwan's presidency'. Print Edition | Subscribe