The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday dismissed reports that it would yield three legislator-at-large seats to the People First Party (PFP) for the sake of “pan-blue” unity.
KMT Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) was responding to a report by the Chinese-language China Times that after PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) announced his intention to run in the Jan. 14 presidential election, tensions between the KMT and the PFP — originally a splinter of the ruling party — had risen.
The KMT has adopted a two-pronged strategy, the report said. On one hand, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has called on key figures with close ties to the PFP to switch allegiance to the KMT in the upcoming elections. On the other hand, the party has privately extended an olive branch by offering three legislator-at-large seats to the PFP to ensure joint coordination, the reports said.
“The KMT has no such plan and we regret that the newspaper failed to fact-check its news,” Liao said.
He said his party, based on sincerity and goodwill, was willing to co-name suitable regional candidates through public opinion polls, even though KMT nominees have already been named for legislative constituencies.
On legislative at-large seats, Liao said, the KMT welcomes the PFP to select its list of party candidates, after which the two sides could discuss the most acceptable ones.
“The KMT will avoid ‘closed-door’ talks to live up to public expectations,” Liao said, adding that the KMT was still waiting for a response from the PFP.
KMT caucus whip Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) also said the party could not possibly yield any legislator--at-large seats to the PFP.
“The possibility does not exist and no KMT members will ever accept such an approach,” Chao said.
On the PFP side, spokesman Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) said if PFP legislators cannot form a caucus in the legislature, they would be unable to formulate policies and monitor the government.
Out of the 113-seat legislature, 73 are direct electoral seats, six seats are reserved for Aborigines, while 34 are for legislators-at-large and overseas Taiwanese. The legislator-at-large seats are awarded in proportion to the number of votes each party garners in the elections and only those parties that collect at least 5 percent of the votes will be awarded those party list seats.
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