Members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) alleged on Saturday that a notice by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) concerning the nomination of delegates to attend the national conventions of the US Democratic and Republican parties was misleading and had worked to the DPP’s disadvantage.
According to the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs Director-General Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), in accordance with past practices during the US presidential elections, the ministry invited the political parties to nominate members to attend the national conventions of the two US parties.
The Republican National Convention is set for Aug. 27 through Aug. 30, while the Democratic National Convention will be held on Sept. 3 through Sept. 6.
Linghu said there were no restrictions on who may be nominated by the parties to attend the conventions, though the number of delegates had to be in proportion to the number of seats held by the party in the legislature.
However, the DPP alleges that when ministry officials told them the party could nominate three persons per convention, they said that “legislators had to be prioritized.”
Acting on that information, the DPP decided to send legislators Mark Chen (陳唐山), Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) to the Republican National Convention; and Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺), Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) to the Democratic National Convention.
For its part, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it was sending the party’s foreign affairs division’s leading consultant, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰); KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏); KMT Deputy Secretary-General Lin Teh-jui (林德瑞) and legislators Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), Alex Fai (費鴻泰), Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Chan Kai-chen (詹凱臣).
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the KMT list of delegates seemed to focus on senior officials within the party, which sidelines the DPP delegation because it was only composed of legislators.
The DPP has been mislead into thinking that its delegates had to be legislators, Tsai said, adding that such a move was tantamount to using the nation’s resources to help the KMT conduct interparty diplomacy.
Playing such “dirty tricks” to limit the DPP’s choice of delegates was unacceptable, Tsai said.
The move caused the DPP’s strength to be downplayed when compared to the KMT delegation, Tsai said, adding that such a move was questionable.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉) said that when the ministry contacted the TSU last week, it said the party was eligible to send two delegates, without mentioning any limitations.
People First Party (PFP) spokesperson Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) also said that the PFP has been notified, adding that the party was still holding discussions as to who it would send.
The TSU has already confirmed that it would be sending Lin Jih-jia and Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲), while Wu said the PFP was considering sending Kao Shih-ching (高士晴), a lawyer who was once nominated for the party’s legislator-at-large seat.
The ministry is still in the process of arranging the trip to the US, which it is funding, Linghu said in response to DPP comments on Saturday.
Additional reporting by Yen Ruo-jin and Tseng Wei-chen