At its national party congress on July 19, the ruling Kuomingtang (KMT) officially named Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu as its candidate for the January 2016 presidential election.
The nomination put an end to months of speculation about who would be the KMT standard-bearer. When Party Chairman Eric Chu, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, and other KMT heavyweights all demurred, the candidacy was left open for the relatively unknown Hung. With her nomination and the earlier selection of Tsai Ing-wen to represent the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan will almost certainly have a female president in 2016. Tsai is currently running well ahead in opinion polls, based on widespread public disappointment with the current KMT administration, as well as controversy over Hung’s stance on cross-Strait relations (under pressure from KMT legislators, she dropped her suggested policy of “one China, a single interpretation” in favor of the official party line of “one China with different interpretations.”) Speculation continues over whether James Soong of the blue-leaning People First Party may still join the race.