Amid competition for popular campaign rally sites ahead of the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 14, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will receive permits for Ketagalan Boulevard on key weekends before the elections, the Taipei City Government confirmed yesterday.
Volunteers from both the pan-blue and pan-green camps have been lining up at the application zone for permits in front of Taipei City Hall since last month and the KMT has obtained the permit for the boulevard, a major venue in Taipei for large campaign rallies, to hold an election event on Jan. 7, Taipei City’s New Construction Office said.
Lin Chih-feng (林志峰), deputy director of the office, said although the permit for so-called “Super Sunday” on Jan. 8 and election eve on Friday, Jan. 13, would open for applications next week, the KMT would obtain the permits for the two days because its volunteers already occupy the first and second spots in line.
The fight over permits for the boulevard began last month, with the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) engaged in a war of words.
DPP spokesman Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said the DPP would find other locations to hold campaign rallies or events prior to the elections.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday also waded into the fight, accusing Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and the city government of failing to maintain administrative neutrality by extending the deadline for applications for the permits at another venue — the 228 Peace Memorial Park.
TSU legislator-at-large candidate Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said the deadline for applications for permits to hold campaign events at the park on Jan. 7, Jan. 8 and Jan. 13 was Nov. 23, but the city government extended the deadline to Nov. 28 and allowed the KMT to apply for the permits as well.
The city’s Parks and Street Lights Office said the deadline was extended to allow legislative candidates to apply for the permits after the registration of their candidacies on Nov. 25.
Lin said permits were open for application between seven days and one month before a planned event, and applicants should apply at the designated zone in front of Taipei City Hall.
The Parks and Street Lights Office said it handled the application process in accordance with regulations and would not favor any specific political party.