The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said former Kaohsiung county commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) would join President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign team in Greater Kaohsiung and stump for Ma and the party’s legislative candidates in pan-green strongholds.
Liu Chin-tien (劉進添), deputy director of the KMT’s Kaohsiung branch, said Yang, a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member, had agreed to take over as chief advisor to Ma’s campaign headquarters for Kaohsiung’s Cishan, Gangshan and Fengshan districts and he would start campaigning for Ma, his running mate Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and the party’s legislative candidates after the headquarters is set up on Oct. 22.
Yang left the DPP last year to run as an independent in the Greater Kaohsiung mayoral election against Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the DPP. Both the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) have approached Yang seeking his help with their election campaigns. PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) appeared at one of Yang’s mayoral campaign activities to support his bid.
KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) said Yang had already started campaigning for the re-election bids of KMT legislators Chiu Yi (邱毅) and Lin Yi-shih (林益世).
“The KMT welcomes anyone who supports the Ma-Wu ticket to join us. We welcome Yang, who is joining us to fight for the future of Taiwan,” Lai said.
Soong, who is planning to run for the presidency, yesterday said he respected Yang’s decision to campaign for Ma, while dismissing speculation that Yang had attempted to dissuade Soong from joining the presidential election.
“I am not running for the presidency to mess with the presidential election. [The speculation] is a fake issue that the KMT has used to shift the focus of attention. I hope the KMT will not ruin Mr Yang’s reputation,” Soong said.
Soong’s comments came after the Chinese-language United Daily News reported that Yang had decided to campaign for Ma in the south and that he had told Soong that he did not support his presidential bid because a third force would not have any space in the nation’s bipartisan political environment.
Soong said he met with Yang twice this year, in May and in August, and that Yang had never tried to dissuade him from joining the presidential election.
Soong began a nationwide campaign tour last week and he said his presidential petition, which aims to collect 1 million signatures backing his presidential bid, was going smoothly, but he refused to reveal the number of signatures