Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Eric Chu downplays rumors of possible KMT-PFP hook-up

By Lai Hsiao-tung  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu, left, hands out red envelopes to a member of the public in a temple in Lujhou yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday downplayed rumors that he visited People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) earlier this month to discuss the possibility of cooperation between the KMT and the PFP in next year’s presidential and legislative elections.

“With the Lunar New Year around the corner, it is a good thing to give my New Year greetings to respected political figures in person and ask for their wisdom, regardless of whether they are or used to be members of the KMT,” Chu said in response to media inquiries on the matter yesterday.

Chu said the KMT welcomes advice from every experienced politician on the nation’s future, including “from Soong and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).”

Rumors of the closed-door meeting emerged shortly after the Central Election Commission announced on Thursday last week that the presidential and legislative elections next year would be held jointly.

While no KMT politician has publicly declared their intention to run in the presidential election next year, Chu is said to be a possible candidate.

According to sources familiar with the matter who requested anonymity, Chu paid the visit to Soong in his office weeks after taking over the helm of the party last month from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

“The possibility of potential cooperation between the KMT and the PFP was brought up during the meeting, but no consensus was reached between the two. They did not touch on the subject of next year’s presidential election, but did exchange a few opinions on the next legislative election,” the source said.

In related news, a survey released by the TVBS poll center yesterday shows that 43 percent of respondents would vote for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) if she is to compete against Chu in the presidential election, just edging out the 41 percent who would support the New Taipei City mayor.

The poll came only one day after Tsai officially registered for the DPP’s presidential primary.

It also showed Tsai’s support rate increasing to 45 percent if her KMT challenger is Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who received support from only 31 percent of the respondents.

The rate climbed to 55 percent when the respondents were asked to choose between Tsai and former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT, who only had the support of 21 percent of those polled.

Chu also trailed behind Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) of the DPP, and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in the survey if either of them were his opponent in the election.

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