Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lack of pan-blue integration still the top concern for KMT

BY MO YAN-CHIH  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the year-end elections approaching, the integration of the pan-blue camp in its quest to win votes remains a tough issue for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and many party members urged KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday to work harder to solve the problem.

In a bid to infuse the party with the energy of younger members and boost its efforts to win the year-end elections, the KMT yesterday invited young party members from all cities and counties to discuss campaign strategies that will ensure victory.

Amid energetic discussions, the KMT's difficulty in working together with the People First Party (PFP) even after Ma and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) had a meeting, remained the gathering's biggest concern. Many people questioned Ma's ability to tackle the tough job needed for pan-blue integration.

"KMT and PFP candidates in Pingtung County (屏東) still insists separately on running in the elections. We are really worried about how the pan-blue camp will manage to become integrated in less than 70 days," said Wang Rong-an (王榮岸), a party member from Pingtung County.

Another party member, Chen Yao-kuan (陳耀寬) of Taichung City, also expressed concern about the issue of integration in the city, as PFP Legislator Shen Chi-huei (沈智慧) recently announced he will run for the city mayor position against KMT mayoral candidate Jason Hu (胡志強), incumbent mayor.

Ma acknowledged there are difficulties ahead in the process of integration, but promised to work harder to solve the issue.

"We do face some difficulties in persuading some candidates to drop out of the election. But we will continue to talk to the PFP and work things out," Ma said, adding that he won't exclude the possibility of a second Ma-Soong meeting to discuss the matter.

KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuen-pao (詹春柏) said integration with the PFP has never stopped, although it is hard to force candidates to "give up their personal interests for a pan-blue victory."

"I understand that all of you want pan-blue integration to go smoothly, so we can win the elections. But things are not as easy as you had thought," Chang said.

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