President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in his capacity as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, yesterday started a new round of election campaigning for the legislative by-elections on Feb. 27, and expressed confidence in the party’s performance following a number of defeats in recent polls.
Ma visited Chiayi County yesterday morning to campaign for party candidate Lin Te-jui (林德瑞), a professor at National Chung Cheng University. He also met local party members in Chiayi, urging them to join forces and help the party win the legislative by-elections and the special municipality elections this year.
Ma, accompanied by KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) and party officials, took the chance to encourage confidence in the economy.
“The number of tourists increased 14 percent last year despite Typhoon Morakot in August and the global financial crisis. We are confident about Taiwan’s economic development,” he said.
Ma will visit Hualien County today and Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taoyuan counties next month during the Lunar New Year holidays, following his state visit to Latin America, the KMT said.
The KMT arranged campaigning events for Ma after the party suffered a significant defeat in last month’s legislative by-elections. Ma did not campaign for party legislators until the last day before the elections last month.
In response to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) criticism of the KMT’s latest TV commercial, which shows footage of DPP lawmakers occupying the podium and having fistfights with KMT legislators when voting on the amendment of the Local Government Act (地方制度法), Ma said the party was “showing the truth.”
“We did not exaggerate the situation,” he said. “We show the truth and we also reflect upon ourselves. [The DPP] should not blame others for revealing the truth.”
In other news, a group of young DPP members yesterday called on the party to map out a new nomination mechanism to help more young members take part in elections.
The group requested the matter be discussed at today’s provisional National Congress.
The former director of the DPP’s Department of Women’s Development, Hsu Chia-tian (�?�), said the DPP used to be a young people’s party, but as party members get older, it had become harder for young people to obtain a position or nomination if they did not have factional support, family connections or support from big business.
The groups prefer using a weighted polling system.
The proposal suggested that those who have worked as party staffers or who have been devoted to social movements should automatically be granted 10 percent in a poll when they enter the party’s primaries for the first time.
Today’s provisional National Congress is to finalize the nomination rules for year-end municipal elections.
DPP primaries include party member votes and public opinion polls. The DPP Central Executive Committee passed a draft on Jan. 13 that would require DPP nominees in municipalities where the party holds power to be selected by the end of May through public opinion polls.
The decision has been criticized by some who say late nominations could lead to poor results in the elections.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA