KMT’s Hung Suspends, Restarts Campaigning

Hung Campaigns -- KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu resumed campaigning after a brief respite. Here she holds a pineapple, a symbol of good luck.

Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu announced a temporary halt to campaign activities on September 2.

The announcement made on Facebook seemed to catch KMT headquarters offguard and fueled speculation that Hung was withdrawing from the race. Media pundits also suggested that her sudden seclusion allowed her to avoid embarrassing questions over visits by several of her supporters to Beijing’s festivities celebrating the victory of China over Japan in World War II, while others wondered whether the candidate was suffering from health issues, noting that she is a breast cancer survivor. Hung’s campaign headquarters denied all rumors and said that the candidate simply needed time to consider plans for policy initiatives and integrating local support into her campaign.

Hung maintained communication with supporters via diary-like posts on Facebook, where she invoked the “tranquility and benevolence” of a bodhisattva, a Buddhist enlightened being, to provide her with the wisdom to lead the country. She returned to the campaign trail on September 6 with a press conference, during which she lamented the state of Taiwanese politics and said she wants to bring the country back to the right path. Meanwhile, polls consistently show Hung badly trailing frontrunner Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, with some even having her following third-party candidate James Soong of the People’s First Party.