Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Infighting may destroy blue camp

The announcement of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) nomination of its first group of candidates for the year-end legislative elections was met with immediate protests from party members.

The localization faction was displeased with the operation of the party's Huang Fuhsing branch whose members consist of military veterans and their families. Chiu Teh-hung (邱德宏), a member of a group of KMT members that calls itself the Blue Eagle Warriors, declared that he will be leaving the party to join the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which will nominate him for the year-end elections. KMT Legislator Tseng Tsai Mei-tsuo (曾蔡美佐) who lost in the party's primary, also announced her departure from the party and said that she does not rule out an independent election bid. It appears that a move toward yet another KMT breakaway faction is taking shape.

It is not uncommon for the nomination of candidates for any election to be followed by discontent with the nomination process. Nor is it very strange to have party members renouncing their party membership. With the advent of Taiwan's party-based political system, voters were able to support the party of their choice, and in the same way, politicians are free to choose the party that best serves their own political ideals and interests.

Now, however, the KMT's majority in the legislature seems close to collapsing. The loss of even one legislative seat or defection from the party could spell the end of the party's legislative majority, turning it into a true opposition party, in administrative and legislative terms.

The blue camp's problem does not only lie with the KMT. Although the KMT consolidated its grassroots support in the Kaohsiung City Council by-elections, the People First Party (PFP) failed to get any of its candidates elected. The result was that the pan-blue camp lost control of the council, thus handing both the Kaohsiung City Government and the council to the pan-green camp. The Kaohsiung elections may be a prelude of what is to come in the year-end elections, and this may well lead to the blue camp's disintegration. The dispute over the nomination of candidates has caused talk of a merger between the KMT and the PFP to be reduced to talk merely of cooperation, even as the two parties are now almost openly competing with one another. Indeed, KMT and PFP candidates are competing with members of their own parties for the same votes in the same electoral districts. Prior to the year-end legislative elections, differences between the KMT and the PFP will become more obvious, and the two parties will move further and further away from each other.

Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and others have recently established the Taiwan Democracy School. It has joined late in the race, and though it calls itself a school, it might just as well call itself a political party, or possibly even a media club (it boasts a number of well-known TV personalities among its members). While it will probably receive good television ratings, its performance at the ballot box is another matter. The school's members are uniformly opposed to the pan-green camp. They consist of the more centrist side of the pan-blue spectrum, and their supporters are likely to be those with "pale blue" political views. Their candidates are unlikely to steal many pan-green votes. Since this "pale blue" vote will cut yet another slice out of the pan-blue voter pie, it is hardly surprising that they have been accused of "being unable to make, but able to mar" the KMT and PFP.

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