KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) has accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of going out on a limb and breaking past practice to accommodate “the other mayoral candidate hopeful.”
Ting’s comments came after the KMT’s Wednesday announcement that the deadline for the Taipei City mayor and Taoyuan County commissioner candidate nominations would be earlier, on April 23.
Taipei city mayoral elections nominations have previously been in May or June, Ting said, adding that moving the procedure forward for Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), simply because he is a poster child for the KMT, smacks of favoritism.
The party’s reticence to hold televised debates between party nominee hopefuls was also “shielding” Sean Lien, Ting said, adding that Taipei residents would not know how to vote because they have no basis for comparison.
According to party regulations, candidate forms are available on Monday and Tuesday next week, and registration is on March 25 and March 26. One work day and one non-work day between April 8 to April 13 would be chosen to poll Taipei City residents, with official nominations to be reviewed by the Central Standing Committee on April 23, the party said.
Sean Lien has declined to comment on the allegations and said he would do his best to gain support for his candidacy, adding that he would follow party regulations as long as they were made with the agreement of all involved.
Aside from Ting and Sean Lien, KMT members Alex Tsai (蔡正元), Chin Hui-chu (秦慧珠), Yang Shih-chiu (楊實秋) and Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) have expressed an interest in running for mayor. They have also said that they were in favor of a televised policy debate.
In terms of polling methods, Sean Lien and Tsai were in favor of intra-party polls, while the other hopefuls felt that each candidate should be compared directly with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-nominated candidate.
KMT Taipei Headquarters official Chung Tse-liang (鍾則良) said that moving forward the combined candidate votes, also moved forward the nomination times.
“There is no element of favoritism at play,” Chung Tse-liang said, adding that the party was still debating whether to hold televised debates and if it should enforce the 30 percent party member vote system.
Addressing Yang’s complaint that the system of requiring 1,582 signatures for a party member to run in the elections disadvantaged candidates who had no position or wealth, Chung Tse-liang said the same system was in place, even for presidential nominees.
“We would look into the matter and try to the best of our abilities to make the primaries as egalitarian as possible,” he added.
Additional reporting by Chen Yen-ting, Kuo An-chia, and Shih Hsiao-kuang