Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 1 News List

KMT-DPP debate talks suffer terminal breakdown

By Vincent Y. Chao and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters

Negotiations between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on the possibility of holding a debate for the mayoral candidates in next month’s special municipality elections have once again failed to reach a consensus.

Both parties yesterday expressed regret over the breakdown in negotiations.

KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) yesterday told a press conference the main reason behind the failed negotiations was that the KMT and the DPP disagreed on whether media representatives should be invited to ask questions during the debates.

“We think that media outlets should have a better understanding on public opinions and issues related to elections, and having media representatives ask questions will prevent the debate from turning into a war of words,” King said at KMT headquarters.

KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the KMT and five candidates of the special municipality elections are willing to participate in the debates. However, the DPP insisted on holding cross--examination debates and refused to allow participation of media outlets, Su said.

The DPP also said it and its candidates have tried their best to cooperate.

“It is truly regrettable that this debate will no longer be able to continue,” said DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌), a member of the DPP’s negotiating team.

The DPP said the breakdown likely signals an end to the possibility of holding the televised event, at least by the Public Television Service (PTS), the current organizer.

According to a copy of the meeting records, the KMT negotiating team had changed its viewpoints on a number of key issues that the DPP representatives weren’t able to accept. It also followed a disagreement on which dates would be chosen for the event.

Meeting for the first time on Tuesday last week, both parties had initially agreed that the debate format would include an opening statement, cross-examinations and a conclusion proposed by PTS.

However, during the third round of negotiations on Monday, the meeting record showed that KMT representatives hoped Taipei City would be exempted from the agreed-upon format and that additional questions from the media would instead be included.

KMT representatives also gave a number of dates they said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Sinbei City candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) would not be able to attend.

“[The KMT] hopes the DPP will be able to treat Taipei City separately from the other four cities [up for elections next month], to give us more room for further negotiations,” the meeting record read, describing some of the KMT’s viewpoints.

In a signal suggesting that Hau was the major factor behind the disagreement, the meeting record wrote that the KMT had already “tried its best to convince” candidates to agree to the previously decided format.

“We weren’t able to accept this reasoning,” Lin said. “The DPP can’t accept that the KMT continuously tried to think of different reasons to overturn our earlier consensus.”

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