As January’s legislative elections approach, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has “parachuted” many new faces into the elections, but though these newcomers have received good feedback, the party cannot yet say how many more solid votes they have garnered, pan-blue camp sources said.
The new faces sent to run in areas expected to be closely contested include Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) in Greater Tainan, former anchorwoman Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) in Chiayi and former basketball athlete Rosa Chien (錢薇娟).
However, since declaring their intention to run in the elections, KMT evaluations of the effect they are having remain conservative.
According to local party officials’ reports to party central, Chiayi residents have a good impression of Chen and say she is very diligent in her canvassing rounds and is very polite.
However, there is still a way to go if Chen is to convert that positive impression into solid votes, the officials said.
The voting culture in the central and southern parts of the country is different from the north, as they rely on personal connections, a pan-blue camp official said, adding that everyday interaction was the foundation to building a good connection.
“Even if the new faces get a good response, it is hard to be optimistic and say it is the same as getting their votes [for good],” the official said.
The primary mission of the newcomers in these challenging areas is not to win the election, but rather to shore up basic support for the presidential election that will be held on the same day as the legislative polls and gain support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
However, though the KMT knows that traditional local forces cannot be entirely swept aside, and in an effort to stump for the Chiayi elections, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and KMT Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) had made private visits to KMT heavyweights in Chiayi.
However, sources say the heavyweights in Chiayi are keeping a very low profile and are appearing neutral in meetings with visiting KMT officials.
Those higher-up in the KMT are actively finding ways to sway the local heavyweights to support their choice of legislative candidates, sources said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer
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