Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

New signs of local enmity for the KMT

NOT UNUSUAL Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung played down the significance of members leaving the party before local elections

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hualien County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chi-ming (張志明) yesterday announced his withdrawal from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to run in the Hualien County commissioner election as an independent.

Chang lashed out at the KMT for its failure to follow the primary process by seeking to nominate former health minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) and urged the party to take the matter seriously and respect the voices of residents in Hualien.

“The KMT’s rough handling of the primary process violated legal procedures and damaged procedural justice,” Chang said in a press conference.

“I want to do my job rather than play political games and hopefully my withdrawal will help the party hear the voice of the people of Hualien,” he said.

Chang’s move created another pan-blue split for the KMT in the local government head elections in December and sparked growing concern within the KMT about the party’s performance in the year-end elections.

The KMT suspended the primary election in May and barred KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) from taking part in the primary because he was found guilty in his first and second trials in two cases. It restarted the primary process later after Yeh, the party’s preferred candidate, agreed to join.

Yeh, however, lost the primary to former Hualien County Agricultural Development Office director Tu Li-hua (杜麗華), forcing the KMT to nominate Tu as its candidate.

In response, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) acknowledged yesterday that a series of recent pan-blue splits had given rise to a sense of panic within the party, but shrugged off concerns about its performance in the elections.

“There are always several cases of party members withdrawing for the local government elections,” Wu said.

The KMT is also having trouble finding a candidate for the Yunlin County commissioner election after Chang Li-shan (張麗善) withdrew her candidacy on Monday.

The defeat of Chang Ken-hui (張艮輝) in the Yunlin legislative by-election to the Democratic Progressive Party’s Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) and the split of local party factions behind Chang Ken-hui and candidate Chang Hui-yuan (張輝元) were the main factors behind her withdrawal.

Wu said the party would choose a new candidate within two or three days and that the candidate would be a party member from Yunlin with integrity and a clean image.

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