The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday denied including New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) in a party poll on the popularity of potential candidates for the Taipei mayoral election, and said that the party will launch the nomination procedures for the special municipalities after the Lunar New Year holidays.
Chu, who is reportedly eyeing the presidential election in 2016, has not confirmed his re-election bid in the New Taipei City mayoral election.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday that the KMT is concerned about the party’s likely performance in the Taipei City and New Taipei City mayoral elections, and planned to nominate Chu as the candidate in the Taipei City race against another possible candidate, former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), who has been an open critic of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said yesterday that the party has not conducted polls on the popularity of potential candidates for the Taipei mayoral race because it has not launched nomination procedures for the city.
“It is impossible for us to conduct polls right now, and the story is based on groundless rumors,” he said.
Chu yesterday declined to comment on the report and said that the city’s development remained his priority.
The KMT is handling the second-phase nomination procedures in Keelung and Nantou counties, and has said it will wait until the end of the Lunar New Year holidays next month to launch the nominations of candidates for the special municipalities.
Yang said the KMT will seek to finalize its candidates through primaries in cities with more than one hopeful.
In Greater Taichung, for example, KMT legislators Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟) and Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦龍) have announced their bids in the election. Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) also said that he would join the party’s primary if he decided to seek re-election.
“Negotiation is one measure to determine the party’s candidates, but if no hopefuls want to compromise, we will launch a primary mechanism. The most important thing is we do not have any preferred candidates,” Yang said.
In related news, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday denied that it would postpone the nomination of former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) as its candidate in the New Taipei City mayoral election due to Yu’s low support rate among voters.
Former DPP lawmaker Julian Kuo (郭正亮) said yesterday that the party would hold Yu’s nomination. It announced the scheduled nominations of Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) in Greater Taichung and Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) in Changhua County on Jan. 15.
“It was a groundless assertion. Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will nominate Yu Shyi-kun as the DPP candidate in New Taipei City as regulated by the party’s primary regulation for the Central Executive Committee to make the final approval,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said yesterday.
Yu’s office director, Meng Yi-chao (孟義超), said he had not heard the rumor, adding that Yu should be nominated as the final candidate of the constituency after winning the party primary.
Yu’s ugly win in the party primary and large deficit against the incumbent Chu — a 19 percent deficit in a recent TVBS poll and a 27.9 percent setback in a Want Want China Times Group poll — was why Su was hesitant to nominate Yu’s, Kuo wrote on Facebook yesterday.