Sun, Nov 28, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues postpone decision on strategy

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Depending on which paper you read yesterday, the People First Party (PFP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) either have or have not already reached a decision to allocate votes across party lines.

With only two weeks left until the legislative elections, whether the pan-blue camp will allocate votes either within or across party lines has been an issue of hot debate for candidates and pan-blue supporters alike. But how to describe the results of Friday's closed-door meeting between KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was an open question for the media yesterday.

next week

The PFP and the KMT said that they were postponing a decision on a cross-party vote allocation strategy until next week, when voter tendencies have become clearer. Until then, the two camps said, each party was going to work on campaigning in these last two weeks before the Dec. 11 legislative elections, making a final push for their weaker candidates and consolidating support for their stronger candidates.

The vote allocation issue became a subject of controversy between the two allies last month, when the KMT announced it would be utilizing a vote allocation strategy only among its own candidates. The news was poorly received by PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who criticized the KMT for not being a team player in the pan-blue camp's cooperative effort to win a majority of seats in the Dec. 11 legislative elections.

Soong's criticisms have since died down. But even after Friday's meeting between the KMT and PFP chiefs, the issue of whether to initiate cross-party vote allocation strategies remains an open one.

Some KMT offices have decided to get a running start on allocation strategies in their districts, without waiting for the KMT's headquarters to make a final decision on whether to allocate votes between the PFP and the KMT.

"We are putting the concerns of Pingtung County first," Chu Chuen-chuan (朱春泉), executive director of the KMT's district office in Pingtung, said Friday night.

Pingtung County's local KMT division was one of the first district offices to make public a voting allocation strategy for the district's pan-blue supporters last week. In Pingtung County, explained Chu, the KMT is asking supporters who are still undecided about which of the district's two KMT candidates to support to vote along gender lines.

"We want females to vote for the female candidate Lu Hsiu-yen (盧秀燕), and males to vote for the male candidate, Wu Chin-lin (伍錦霖)," Chu said.

Other districts in which the KMT has already set up vote allocation plans include Kaohsiung County and Miaoli County, said Liao Feng-te (廖風德), Director of the KMT's Organization and Development Committee. Liao said the KMT is looking to allocate votes in a total of 13 districts.

While the KMT is making vote allocation strategies for its own candidates its number one priority, the PFP seems to be holding on to the hope that the KMT will agree to cooperate in eight key districts: Kaohsiung and Chiayi cities, as well as Tainan, Nantou, Ilan, Hualien, Taitung and Lienchan counties.

"In particular, [the KMT and PFP] have a tacit understanding to allocate votes in Kaohsiung City, Tainan County, Ilan County, and Nantou County," said PFP spokesman Hsieh Kong-ping (謝公秉) on Friday, after accompanying Soong to his meeting with the KMT.

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