President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday acknowledged his concerns about a split in the pan-blue camp over People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) participation in the presidential election, adding that negotiations with Soong and the PFP would continue.
In an interview on CTV’s political TV show Report to the Voters, Ma, seeking re-election in January as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, discussed Soong’s possible presidential bid with host Jaw Shao-kang (趙少康) and said the KMT was concerned about the possible impact of Soong running for the presidency because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its candidate, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), could benefit from a split in the pan-blue camp.
“We are continuing our discussions with the PFP ... We should look at the big picture and avoid a spat between allies affecting the outcome of the election,” Ma said.
Soong declared his intention to join the presidential election in May and started a petition last month. He has previously said he would not join the race unless he collected 1 million signatures for his presidential petition, but later said he would join the presidential election if the number of signatures surpassed the legal threshold of 257,695.
Soong’s presidential bid has caused great concern in the KMT, especially because Ma has been polling neck-and-neck with the DPP’s Tsai.
Soong has been ignoring the KMT’s call for pan-blue unity and he said earlier this week that his petition had passed the legal threshold and he promised to make his candidacy official by sending the first batch of petitions to the Central Election Commission on Tuesday.
PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) yesterday shrugged off Ma’s concerns, saying Soong wanted to participate in the presidential election because he wanted to respond to the public’s expectations.
“Chairman Soong is concerned about the nation’s future and he is looking at the big picture,” Wu said.