Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

KMT set to hold primaries ahead of year-end polls

By Mo Yan-chih and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, center, attends the opening ceremony of a liaison office for Aborigines in Shoufeng Township, Hualien County, yesterday. Tsai said the DPP would announce its candidate for the Tainan County commissioner election today.

PHOTO: YANG I-CHUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said it would hold a primary to determine its candidate for the Taipei County commissioner*s election in December in light of Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei*s (騍鉊縜) consistently low approval rating.

※The KMT supports its incumbents and will decide on candidates [for the year-end elections] through primaries. We will not designate any nominees,§ KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (趠堐錩) said.

Wu*s remarks came amid reports that the KMT planned to nominate an alternative member to run in Taipei County after a recent KMT poll showed Chou*s approval rating was 36 percentage points lower than that of former Taipei County commissioner Su Tseng-chang (憀濼鵽) of the Democratic Progressive Party DPP.

Wu said the party would select the candidate with the best chance of winning the election, and that no one would be excluded from the primary process.

In response to Chou*s accusation that claims of his low approval ratings were the result of attacks from top-level KMT officials, Wu once again denied using polls to attack Chou, but added that he would not discuss the issue with Chou in person.

※I don*t think it*s necessary [to communicate with Chou]. The KMT has its own party mechanism, and the party treats every member with trust and respect,§ Wu said.

The secretary-general declined to comment on KMT Legislator Chiu Yi*s (珂錂) suggestion that the party invite People First Party Chairman James Soong (撦鶔諝) to run in Taipei County.

Chou on Monday held a press conference dismissing reports of his low approval rating, and accused certain KMT officials of trying to prevent him from seeking re-election.

Asked for comment, Chou yesterday defended his administration*s performance and said he did not have any knowledge of poll results showing a drop in his approval rating.

※I put up with [the allegations], but it*s unacceptable that such allegations deny the efforts of my administration,§ he said.

Chou said he believed the KMT would select its candidate fairly.

Also yesterday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said it would announce its candidate for the Tainan County commissioner election today.

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (齍褙湞) was speaking to reporters amid suggestions that a developing rift in Tainan County could split the party*s vote.

Former minister of foreign affairs and Presidential Office 〝secretary-general Mark Chen (蠊衄舝) and DPP legislators Yeh Yi-〝jin (蝔錥藸) and Lee Chun-yee (軝鵙錂) have all expressed a desire to run for the position.

Chen last week asked the party to choose him as its candidate, saying he would enter the race as an independent candidate if the DPP did not select him.

Yeh on Monday denied that she would back out of seeking the party*s nomination.

Yeh and Lee held a joint press conference yesterday.

※I have not withdrawn,§ Yeh said. ※If the party chooses me, I will campaign hard. If the party chooses someone else, I will do my best to help their campaign.§

Lee added that he and Yeh agreed that the party had to remain united in Tainan County and that they would both respect the party*s final decision.

※Somebody does not respect the party at all,§ Lee said in an apparent reference to Chen.

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