Until now, New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) of the KMT has been openly dismissive of presidential candidate Daniel Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) run for the presidency, stating he was too busy to attend Han’s campaign rallied or take up the post of campaign manager for New Taipei City because he claimed he was too busy focusing on being the mayor for his four million city residents, a direct slap at Han’s abandoning his mayoral duties to run for president. Hou is right now probably the only powerful figure in the KMT who is fairly popular and widely viewed as an effective administrator. In spite of campaigning with Han regularly during the mayoral run, he had up to this weekend only attended one Han rally, and then showing up at a different time than Han, so they didn’t share the stage. That has changed, however:
From Focus Taiwan:
During the rally held in New Taipei, Han was joined by KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and Chu, who was named earlier in the day as Han’s chief campaign manger in charge of campaign strategy nationwide. Chu lost to Han during the opposition party’s presidential primary in July.
New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) of the KMT, who previously did not attend Han’s rallies, citing schedule conflicts, also made a first appearance at Sunday’s rally held in a Banciao sports stadium, during which he called for KMT unity to win the presidential race.
So what happened? We don’t know for sure, but some strong possibilities come to mind. First, the party no doubt has been pressuring him. However, he’s bucked the party before, so that alone is unlikely to have changed his mind.
That he may be considering a run for party chair or the presidency in the future is more likely to be his main consideration for relenting. If he doesn’t show some loyalty now, it will be very hard for him to claim loyalty from some in the party–Han supporters especially–in the future. He may need their support in future.
He also will need Han’s voter base. Though it clear that Han is heading for electoral disaster, his support base–“Han’s army”–is fervently devoted to Han, and frequently direct their anger against enemies of Han, real or perceived. Showing up at this rally may be a peace offering to them.
Image from Han Kuo-yu’s Facebook page