The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) recently ridiculed the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) legislative nominees for seeking to play down ties with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), implying that Ma had perhaps become a dead weight on votes.
On Thursday, each KMT legislative candidate received a notice from the KMT Culture and Communications Committee about subsidizing nominees putting up outdoor billboards — under the condition they have a picture of both Ma and his running mate, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
To tie the legislative and presidential candidates together and create a winning atmosphere, the KMT has asked its legislative nominees to put up billboards with pictures of Ma, Wu and the legislative nominee, sources said.
According to sources, the legislative candidates should primarily focus on large billboards and use double-sided canvas ads as follow-ups, but the ads should be at least 200 cai (才), about 300cm by 600cm in size, and placed in highly populated areas, areas with high traffic volume or in other prominent places.
The sources said the advertisements and billboards should be set up prior to Nov. 30.
The subsidy standards state that every billboard or ad between 200 cai and 500 cai would be subsidized NT$5,000 and billboards or ads larger than 500 cai would be subsidized NT$10,000, the sources said, adding that after the billboards or ads go up, they have to be photographed as evidence by the local KMT headquarters. The request for subsidies must then be stamped and verified, and sent to the KMT Culture and Communications Committee for review.
After the application passes review, the committee would then pass it to the party’s Administration Committee, which would then disburse the funding to local party headquarters to give to the nominees, the source said.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said that although the KMT was using its party assets as incentives for candidates to back Ma, many of the legislative nominees in central and southern Taiwan were not going to take up the offer and would take their chances own their, rather than be pulled down with Ma.
The KMT nominees were cutting ties with the president, as Ma’s failing policies have become dead weight on voter confidence, Pan said.
This marks a vast difference from when KMT legislators fought over who would get to have their pictures taken with Ma and having him canvass for votes with them for the 2008 legislative elections, Pan said.
The KMT nominees even then had raised doubts over the legitimacy of opponents using photographs with Ma who were not within the pan-blue camp proper, Pan said.
The election campaign this year is different, as the Ma administration tying the presidential and legislative elections together was a ploy to get legislative candidates to root for Ma while campaigning for themselves, Pan said, adding that the pan-blue camp is worried that if the candidates purposefully keep their distance from the president, it would go badly for Ma’s re-election bid.
Sources within the KMT said that the party’s efforts to consolidate the presidential and legislative elections were not viewed upon favorable by certain candidates in central and southern Taiwan, or other areas where the DPP has an advantage.
The party should let the nominees have their own space and not sacrifice individual legislative candidates for the presidential election, the sources said, adding that nobody wanted their hard work in the local areas to be overshadowed by the central government.