Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Six aspiring candidates have registered to contest the chairmanship of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) scheduled for May 20, each one submitting more signatures than required.
In total, more than 720,000 signatures were collected from party members, with 221,891 of those submitted by former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the party said on Tuesday.
Party Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former Vice Chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and former Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) each submitted over 100,000 signatures.
Former Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp. Chairman Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) handed in the fewest supporting signatures at 57,341, but he insisted all these signatures are "original."
"If there should be a big gap between the number of signatures and that of the valid votes counted at the ballot box, it would be a great embarrassment for the candidate(s)," Han said.
The number of signatures each of the hopefuls collected was far higher than the 13,322 -- 3 percent of eligible KMT members -- required to register as a candidate.
However, the total number of signatures submitted exceeded the 478,000 party members eligible to endorse aspiring candidates as of Tuesday. One hopeful ascribed this to possible duplicate endorsements or artificial inflation of the number of signatures collected.
To avoid double endorsements, the party has established a nine-member election supervisory committee to check the signatures and determine their validity from Tuesday to Thursday, before publicizing the list of eligible candidates and drawing ballot numbers on Friday, the KMT said.
The campaign will last two weeks from May 6-19, with the election being held on May 20, according to the party.
(By Elizabeth Hsu and S.C. Chang)