Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 4 News List

PFP candidate stages `hunger strike' outside KMT HQ

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

PFP legislative candidate Sheu Yuan-kuo, right, outside the KMT's Taipei headquarters yesterday, protesting that the KMT is
``abandoning'' him in its vote allocation system.


In another example of discord between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP), PFP legislative candidate Sheu Yuan-kuo (許淵國) stormed the KMT's Taipei headquarters yesterday to protest news he may be left out of the parties' vote allocation strategy. Meanwhile, the KMT denied it had any such intentions towards Sheu.

Reacting to a report Thursday in the Chinese-language evening paper the China Times Express, Sheu arrived at the KMT's headquarters yesterday morning to protest the news that the KMT is asking the PFP to "abandon" Sheu in the parties' mutual vote allocation strategy in Taipei's north district. Wearing white shirts and headbands that read "political assassination," Sheu, his wife Chi Fang-yi (紀方怡) and supporters announced their intention to wage a sit-down "hunger strike" outside the KMT's doors before forcing their way into the KMT in an attempt to talk to high-ranking KMT party officials. After being stopped by building guards, Sheu returned outside, calling on any party officials with "guts" to come talk to him.

Sheu later abandoned his "hunger strike" after a placatory visit by PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday afternoon, but maintained that he would talk to the PFP's party leadership about pressing suit against the KMT and the author of the article.

Yesterday, the China Times Express reporter Chiu Hui-chun (邱慧君) wrote that the KMT reportedly approached the PFP about a vote allocation strategy in the highly competitive north and south districts of Taipei City. The pan-blue camp, reported the article, is hoping to win six seats in each district by allocating votes between each district's top six pan-blue contenders. According to the report, the KMT is urging the PFP to "abandon" PFP legislative candidates Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) and Sheu.

Vote allocation is an electoral strategy in whic party supporters are told to allocate their votes between favored candidates to maximize the number of winning seats. A possible collaborative vote allocation strategy between the PFP and the KMT has been a topic of debate in this year's election.

Speaking to reporters at his protest yesterday, Sheu accused the KMT of trying to influence his election chances.

"Abandonment is just like political assassination," said Sheu.

Sheu pointed out that in the last legislative elections, he won a legislative seat with the seventh highest number of votes in his district, despite low poll figures.

In reaction, Liao Feng-te (廖風德), Director of the KMT's Organization and Development Committee, said yesterday that the KMT and PFP had no legislators they considered to be "trailing behind."

The pan-blue alliance has been conservative in its nominations for this year's elections, Liao said. As a result, it only has plans to bolster, not abandon, weaker candidates, he added.

While on the campaign trial in Taipei County yesterday, Soong said that the KMT was in no position to speak for the PFP about its legislative candidates.

"The election chances of PFP candidates should be released by the PFP. However, I see news in the paper every day about how the KMT is releasing news for us about which of the PFP's candidates will be elected and not. This is very disrespectful to the candidates," said Soong yesterday while campaigning in Taipei County.

Soong later visited Sheu and successfully convinced him to stop his protest, in recognition of the KMT and PFP's relationship as allies.

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