Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) lost her chance to run for an eighth legislative term after she was defeated in a party primary earlier this week.
Chu, who was seeking re-election in the fifth electoral district in Taoyuan County, is the fifth veteran incumbent lawmaker so far to have lost out in party primaries.
The others were three-term Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) and four-term Cheng Ching-ling (鄭金玲) of the KMT, and Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) and Lai Kuen-cheng (賴坤成) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who have served five terms and one term respectively.
The next legislative elections will be held simultaneously with the presidential election on Jan. 14 next year.
A tearful Chu said she was frustrated at her loss in the primary despite her outstanding performance on the job, as recognized in surveys conducted by various private parliamentary watchdog bodies.
Chu lost to Chen Wan-teh (陳萬得), the incumbent mayor of Taoyuan County’s Pingjhen City (平鎮). She attributed her defeat mainly to what she said was Chen’s abuse of public resources for use in self-promotion.
In a four-way race in the county’s fifth electoral district, Chu gained a support rate of 31.965 percent in a telephone poll, while Chen got 38.19 percent.
KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said Chu’s defeat highlights deficiencies in the single-seat legislative election system, which he said would eventually lead to “localization of our parliament.”
Grassroots politicians, such as county councilors and township chiefs, usually have closer links with townspeople and could more easily win in an opinion poll, Lee said.
“However, they are not familiar with national issues, particularly complicated budget screening, and may lack the broad vision necessary to deal with such matters,” Lee said.
Political parties should not rely solely on public opinion polls to choose their legislative candidates, Lee said.
Chu began to serve as a legislator in 1990. Some analysts attributed her loss in part to her close ties to the military and her insufficient efforts to forge ties with grassroots communities.
They also said the single-seat election system should not be an excuse for defeat. Lawmakers should change their strategies and work style to adapt to the new system and voters’ changing tastes and preferences, they said.
Chu said she would not seek re-election.
As a stalwart KMT member, Chu said she would abide by party regulations, but she slammed what she said were corrupt practices in the primary campaign.
“The lax discipline and corrupt dealings, such as smear campaigns, in the run-up to the primary have made me pessimistic about the party’s resolve to pursue reform,” Chu said.