The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday called for a new round of negotiations with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on debates between mayoral candidates for next month’s special municipality elections, urging the DPP to join its efforts to facilitate the debates.
“Public debates between -candidates allow voters to -understand their campaign platforms better, and that is what voters really care about,” KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) told a press conference. “The two parties should sit down and negotiate the details of debates … We don’t want to continue the war of words, and hopefully we can reach a consensus on public debates as soon as possible.”
Previous negotiations on -possible debates suffered a breakdown -earlier this month. The KMT blamed the negotiation breakdown on the DPP for opposing media participation, and the DPP accused the KMT of changing its stance on a number of issues that the two parties had agreed upon.
Media participation in election debates dates back to the Taipei mayoral election in 1998, and all election debates have carried on the tradition ever since, King said.
King said the KMT would be willing to make compromises if the DPP offered explanations for why it opposed the participation of media representatives in the debates.
Ma, in his capacity as KMT chairman, yesterday also said he expected candidates to hold debates before the Nov. 27 elections, adding that a public debate serves as a great -opportunity for candidates to explain their campaign platforms clearly.
Speaking about King’s offer, DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) at a separate setting yesterday said that since the earlier breakdown in talks, the DPP headquarters had already delegated authority on the issue to the campaigns of its individual candidates.
The DPP originally insisted that questions from media representatives be disallowed in the interests of “fairness and simplicity,” he said.
It was an issue that was originally agreed by both parties during the initial talks, he added.
“There’s a clear solution to this problem,” Wu said. “We follow on what was originally agreed upon and use the most fair and equal method to hold this debate.”
Deepening the spat, he also said that King was impolite because he first held the press conference and then called Wu’s office. It was an insincere way to handle the issue, Wu said.
“I understand that this was a showcase move for the [media],” he said. “It shows that they aren’t sincere about resolving this problem.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VINCENT Y. CHAO
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