Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors yesterday announced that they would run in the party’s primary election next month to represent the party in the by-election for former KMT legislator Diane Lee’s (李慶安) seat.
KMT Taipei City councilors in the Da-an (大安) and Wenshan (文山) election districts, Lin Yi-hua (林奕華), Chin Li-fang (秦儷舫) and Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元), held press conferences separately yesterday to announce their decision to register for the primary, which is scheduled for Feb. 8.
The schedule for the KMT primary states that interested members should register with the party between today and Sunday. The party will conduct opinion polls on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7, and hold a vote on Feb. 8. The final result will be determined by a combination of the polls and the vote, with the poll results accounting for 70 percent and the vote accounting for 30 percent.
While the voting district has traditionally been a pan-blue stronghold, Lee Ching-yuan urged the party and supporters not to ignore growing dissatisfaction with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
“Thinking that the KMT will win the by-election without even trying is very dangerous. We can’t afford to lose the by-election out of arrogance,” he said at Taipei City Hall.
The KMT’s Taipei City Council caucus, on the other hand, recommended that KMT Taipei City Councilor Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) represent the party in the by-election.
Lee Ching-yuan said there was a chance the KMT would choose a candidate through negotiations rather than the combination of polls and a vote.
He said he would accept any means of finalizing the KMT’s candidate so long as the selection mechanism was fair and transparent. Both Lin and Ching, however, insisted that they would seek to win the primary and would not accept negotiations.
The Nationality Act (國籍法) requires that elected officials with dual nationality renounce their foreign citizenship before assuming public office and obtain a certificate testifying to the loss of their foreign citizenship within a year of inauguration.
The law also requires that public officials holding foreign citizenship be removed from their posts.
Diane Lee’s qualification as a legislator was challenged after it was reported in March that she had never officially renounced her US citizenship, even though she had held public office in Taiwan since 1994.
She quit the KMT on Dec. 30 over the issue and announced her resignation as a legislator on Jan. 8 just as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians were promoting a campaign to recall her and pro-DPP civic groups were preparing to surround the legislature in protest.
The by-election in Taipei City’s Da-an (大安) legislative district will be held on March 28.
Pan Chia-sen (潘家森), director of the KMT’s Taipei City branch, said yesterday that the branch would negotiate with the councilors on Tuesday. The primary will be held according to the schedule if the negotiations fail to reach a consensus on a final candidate.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), who expressed his intention to join the by-election, said he would seek the party’s nomination, but added that he would respect its final decision.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA