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Sat, Sep 29, 2001 - Page 3 News List

James Soong throws support behind KMT candidate in Kaohsiung County

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday offered his support for a KMT politician's bid for Kaohsiung County commissioner.

Soong made the announcement when Huang Pa-yeh (黃八野) paid a visit to Soong.

PFP support for Huang is expected to put enormous pressure on the KMT, which has yet to settle a fight between Huang and another KMT aspirant, legislator Wu Kuang-hsun (吳光訓) who is supported by a rival local faction.

Huang, the mayor of Fengshan city for eight years, defeated the PFP's Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) in opinion polls released earlier this month, and Chung has quit the commissioner's race as per the two candidates' agreement before the results were announced.

"Aside from his outstanding performance as mayor, Huang won the KMT primary and has come out on top in the opinion poll. So, the PFP has good reason to recommend Huang to the voters," Soong said.

Soong said it is unnecessary for the PFP to negotiate with the KMT over its decision to support Huang, because cooperation plans between the two parties no longer exist following the breakdown of negotiations over the issue in August.

Soong said the PFP would not try to interfere in the KMT's decision to nominate Huang or not.

Blaming the KMT for incompetence in coordinating internal differences, Soong decided that the PFP would end cooperation efforts with the KMT and quit the Kaohsiung County and Taipei County races, where the KMT had failed to deliver on its promise to support PFP nominees.

But Chung, the party's nominee for the Kaohsiung County race, had refused to quit until his poor showing in the opinion poll.

Despite the fact that Huang won the highest approval rating in a primary conducted by the KMT in May, the party's Kaohsiung County division has recommended that the nomination be awarded to Wu, who came in third in the primary.

The KMT's central leadership has not made a final decision on the nomination.

Early this month, Huang reached a cooperation deal with PFP's Chung to conduct opinion polls to select the better candidate between themselves. Wu, however, refused an invitation to join the plan.

Huang said he would continue to seek KMT leadership support for his bid, and may quit the party to run in the race should he fail to obtain the party's nomination.

Chao Shou-po (趙守博), head of the KMT's organization and development committee, said the party will continue to coordinate with Huang and try to settle differences.

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