Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT struggles to limit legislative candidates

HOLY INTERVENTION A KMT official said the party had asked a Buddhist master to convince a potential candidate to not register in Taipei's second district race

By Li Ming-hsien  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is using every resource at its disposal -- including asking for help from religious and business leaders -- to help dissuade the numerous aspiring candidates who want to take part in the year-end elections.

Among the 152 KMT members who intend to run for a seat in the soon-to-be slimmed down legislature, only 103 have actually registered. Many of those who have not registered, according to a party official, were "talked off."

It sometimes takes special connections to talk a potential candidate out of running, a high-level party official said on condition of anonymity.

For example, in order to convince three potential candidates to not register in Taipei's second district, so that serving Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) can remain the KMT's candidate, the party asked Buddhist Master Hsing Yun (星雲), who has a close relationship with one of the three potential candidates, to help, the party official said.

Meanwhile, in Taichung, a business leader served as the mediator between County Councilor Wang Chia-chia (王加佳) and KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔), who both intended to run in the same district.

Wang's mother-in-law, Shiatzy Chen (王陳彩霞) -- a clothing designer -- is a close friend of KMT Acting Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤). Chiang asked the business leader to help convince her daughter-in-law not to run in the district.

Wang pulled out of the race.

Mayors have also had a hand in mediating as well.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) helped to arrange candidacies in an electoral district in Taichung.

But in addition to human mediation, immortals are being called upon to intervene in party nominations, too.

In Miaoli County, when Li I-ting (李乙廷) and Kang Shi-ju (康世儒) could not work out a mutual agreement about who would run, they left the decision in the hands of the Gods through buabuei.

Buabuei is a tradition in which people consult divinities by throwing two kidney-shaped wooden blocks. One block showing upside and another showing the downside indicate the immortal's approval.

Although Li has won the god's approval, Kang decided he would risk divine wrath and insist on running anyway.

Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳) and Ye Fang-hsiung (葉芳雄) have also sought to resolve their nomination battle through heavenly means.

It's said that although they swore to the gods that one would run for county commissioner and the other would run for legislator, both decided to run in the legislative election.

Still, the KMT denies personal connections and money determine nomination arrangements.

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