Sat, Sep 11, 2004 - Page 2 News List

KMT and PFP clash over legislative election quota

CAMPAIGN TENSION The People First Party is unhappy that certain figures in the KMT are hoping to adjust the distribution of candidates in the light of poor PFP polling


Tension grew within the pan-blue camp yesterday as Chinese Na-tionalist Party (KMT) politicians demanded more candidates for the legislative election at the expense of the People First Party (PFP), while the PFP retorted that it would not back down.

The KMT also disagreed with the New Party on whether the latter's candidates should become KMT members before registering as KMT candidates.

On Thursday, KMT Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄), who is considered a pro-localization figure, said that although the KMT, the PFP and the New Party had agreed to the numbers of candidates each party would run, the KMT still had the potential to win more seats for the blue camp if it increased its candidate base.

The pan-blue camp earlier settled on 65 candidates for the KMT, 42 for the PFP and between six and eight for the New Party.

Hsu's comments seemed to win backing from senior KMT figures, with party vice chairman Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday saying that the division of candidates could be discussed to maximize the pan-blue camp's chances in December.

"There is still quite some time before the legislative elections. The KMT and the PFP should review and analyze the campaign now and make appropriate adjustments ensuring that the best interests of both parties is served," he said.

Although Wang did not provide details on what the adjustments might be, PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) was still angered by the comments, which he assumed were an indication that KMT candidates would be increased at the expense of PFP members.

"Wang is saying this because he sees that the PFP is doing poorly in the polls," Liu said. "But if he wants to reduce the number of PFP candidacies, will that number be increased when the PFP is doing better in the polls?"

"Hsu and Wang are doing a double act -- but the KMT should not try to take advantage of the PFP when it's down," he said.

Figures in the New Party and the KMT were also at loggerheads over the recent attempt to have New Party candidates run for election under the KMT banner.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) earlier this week hinted that New Party candidates might register under the KMT to run for the legislature, but he was reluctant to say that candidates should first become KMT members. Wang said two days ago that he considered it necessary for New Party candidates to become party members before running for the legislature.

New Party legislative candidate and former legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) supported Yok's comments yesterday.

"We are willing to run as KMT candidates, but we still want to keep our independence. We are not asking to use KMT resources or its campaign machine," Lai said. "But if we become KMT members, does that mean the KMT will provide us with resources?"

Hsu, however, insisted that KMT membership was essential for New Party members if they wished to run as KMT candidates.

"They will need to register as KMT members first and follow KMT election rules. And since we already have a quota limit for candidates, we will not necessarily nominate these candidates after they come back to the KMT," Hsu said.

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