Mon, Nov 07, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Soong ‘not considering dropping bid’

CLOSED DOORS:Both the KMT and the PFP deny that officials were talking about swapping legislative seats for Soong’s promise that he would not run for president

Staff Writer, with CNA

The People First Party (PFP) yesterday said there was no question of PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) dropping his bid for president in exchange for legislative seats, as some local media have reported.

PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) made the remarks in response to a Chinese-language China Times report yesterday that said the PFP has asked for a guarantee of 11 legislative seats from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in exchange for Soong’s withdrawal from the Jan. 14 presidential election.

According to the paper, the PFP has been negotiating the deal through Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁).

“There have been no under-the-table negotiations between the PFP and the KMT on that issue,” Wu said, adding that Soong would not turn his back on the PFP supporters who endorsed his candidacy.

On Tuesday, Soong delivered the first batch of the 355,589 signatures his party has obtained in an endorsement campaign to the Central Election Commission. The PFP on Saturday said it had sent in for approval a total of 463,259 signatures in support of Soong’s candidacy.

By law, Soong was required to obtain signatures from at least 257,695 eligible voters (1.5 percent of the total electorate) before Saturday to be eligible to run for president because his party did not get 5 percent of the vote in the last national election in 2008.

“It is a very heavy responsibility,” Wu said yesterday. “Those signatures are like carvings on one’s back.”

The PFP said that although it received more than 500,000 petitions nationwide, some of them were ineligible, either lacking signatures or identification information, and were therefore invalidated.

The KMT yesterday also denied the China Times report, saying no closed-door negotiations whatsoever had taken place between the two pan-blue parties.

The KMT respects Soong’s decision to run for president, KMT Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) said in a press release.

Neither of the two parties has ever shut the door on cooperation, but they have both insisted that should there be any cooperation, it would be transparent, Liao said.

Any form of cooperation between the KMT and the PFP would be aimed at maximizing the pan-blue vote and preventing the Democratic Progressive Party from benefiting from a pan-blue split, he said.

KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) also denied the report, saying it was “unfounded and untrue.”

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