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Fri, Oct 12, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Joint candidates pose problems for parties

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Until recently, the concept of fielding joint candidates for mayoral and county commissioner elections was seen as a method for rival parties to ensure victory, but recent events call the strategy into question.

"You can hardly name a single city or county where a joint candidate has been successfully fielded [to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved]," DPP secretary general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said yesterday.

The race in Taipei County is the first to see the fielding of a joint candidate by the opposition alliance, which includes the KMT, People First Party and New Party.

The New Party's Wang Chien-shien beat out other prospective candidates in a poll and therefore forced the KMT's Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉) and the PFP's Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) to drop out. However, with Lin's unanticipated decision not to retire and to run as an independent, the cost to the KMT has risen.

KMT legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進), who hails from Lin's hyper-competitive constituency, predicts that the four-term lawmaker is likely to be re-elected.

"However, with the votes he will gain, Lin is likely to squeeze out two other legislative seats that the KMT originally planned to win," Lee said.

The one-for-two trade-off is certainly not advantageous to the KMT, while its rival DPP still stands a good chance of profiting from the tussle and winning both the commissioner and legislative races.

While the KMT's Lee argues that the party does not stand to benefit from the cooperation, the PFP's Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) insists that his party has made huge sacrifices to further cooperation and says that the PFP is "very disappointed with the KMT's lack of sincerity in forging [inter-party] cooperation."

Chou says that if the party's Chiu Chuang-liang (邱創良) doesn't drop out of the Taoyuan County Commissioner's race, the KMT's Chu Li-luan (朱立倫) will face an uphill battle against the DPP's Perng Shaw-jiin (彭紹瑾) and Chiu. "with the PFP's help, Chu has taken the first step toward victory," Chou says.

The PFP, however, appears to have taken a tough stand against cooperation in Taichung's mayoral race by indicating it is likely to support incumbent Taichung Mayor Chang Wen-ying (張溫鷹) -- muddling the alliance's prospects there.

Observers say that Chang will have an equally negative impact on both the DPP's Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) and the KMT's Jason Hu (胡志強), since she will siphon off Tsai's traditional DPP supporters and votes that Hu expected the PFP to bring in for him.

"I'm sorry to say that mutual trust among partner parties has been ruined to a certain extent. Each [party] has its own axe to grind (各懷鬼胎)," Lee said, adding that inter-party cooperation has always been hard to achieve.

Saying that he honestly agrees with Lee, Chou points out that there is "only competition, not cooperation, in legislative elections," adding that party lines are hard to cross.

In Kaohsiung County, two opinion polls were conducted to decide who will represent the opposition alliance in the commissioner's race, though a later KMT-party poll decided on another candidate.

The KMT's Huang Pa-yeh (黃八野) first defeated the PFP's Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) and garnered James Soong's (宋楚瑜) support before he won a fight with another KMT aspirant, legislator Wu Kuang-hsun (吳光訓) who is supported by a rival faction. Wu, nevertheless, later defeated Huang after a third KMT poll and was officially nominated by the party. Huang is now running for the seat as an independent.

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