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Wu appointed vice chairman of KMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday was appointed to the position of first vice chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) by the party's central standing committee, prompting theories about the potential of his 2016 presidential candidacy on the KMT ticket.

Reportedly, the central standing committee decided to approve President Ma Ying-jeou's recommendation to replace incumbent KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) with Wu, immediately giving rise to speculation. The party's organizational structure includes six vice chairs in total, with the first vice chair serving a leadership role.

According to Wu, Ma had previously invited him to take on a seat as vice chair, but Wu had declined. However, Ma asked Wu once more about two weeks ago, stating that with the upcoming municipal elections, Wu could help Ma — who doubles as the incumbent KMT chairman — in handling a daunting campaigning workload. Ma has also said that with Wu's experience in KMT politics and congress, the party would benefit immensely from his leadership, which prompted Wu to agree to take on the position.

Chu and Hau Respond to Wu's First Vice Chair Appointment

As the personnel rearrangement came shortly after the appointment of three incumbent mayors as co-vice chairs of the KMT party, speculations and theories have emerged regarding the KMT candidate for the upcoming 2016 presidential election — some analysts suggesting the likelihood of an upcoming race between the mayors and the vice president, especially between Wu and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), as both men served together as KMT vice chairmen previously in 2008.

In response, Wu stressed during an interview yesterday that he and Chu have a very friendly relationship. Wu went on to state that local media should not speculate or posit an ulterior motive for his appointment.

Chu also stated during a press conference yesterday that he thinks it is a good thing that Wu was appointed as first vice chair. When asked if the presence of Wu as vice chair would put him under any pressure, Chu was quoted as saying that the KMT is facing its toughest time ever, so the addition of Wu can prove helpful when every executive member works together.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) also responded to Wu's appointment yesterday, saying that Wu's political résumé is very complete. Wu has also been involved in elections with very positive results, which will be very helpful in uniting the KMT toward a common goal, Hau said.

Hau went on to state that Wu's expertise could greatly affect the municipal elections, which is the first concern of the KMT.

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