Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday attended a KMT caucus meeting to explain the party’s new legislator nomination system, which was announced earlier this week at a Central Standing Committee meeting.
The system’s higher threshold has met opposition from the party’s incumbent lawmakers.
The KMT announced the legislator nomination mechanism on Tuesday. It requires incumbent legislators to pass a review by a newly established evaluation committee to secure renomination. If there are other party members who wish to represent the party in their electoral districts, the incumbents would have to have at least a 5 percentage point lead in the poll against the challengers to obtain the party’s nomination.
The new system has been criticized by some KMT legislators, who say it is intended to keep lawmakers on a tight leash and to get rid of those who do not fall in line.
Hau yesterday said that while primaries were immediately held if the incumbents were challenged in the past, the new mechanism allows negotiations to take place first for new arrangements for the challengers, and if that fails, a poll is then to be conducted by the party.
The negotiations would continue if the incumbents were not able to gain a 5 percentage point lead in the poll, Hau said.
“We will return to the primaries only if all of the negotiations and coordinations fail,” he said, adding that the approach embodies the spirit of “incumbents first” to avoid primaries and maintain party unity.
“The first round of nominations will be confirmed early next month,” Hau added.
Regarding the constitution of the evaluation committee and the evaluation criteria, which some lawmakers have questioned, Hau said that the committee would consist of the party secretary-general and other members who have held party caucus positions and who are well informed about the lawmakers’ performances.
Hau said lawmakers certainly have the right to voice different opinions.
“Only those who deliberately vote [on the legislative floor] against a resolution passed by the party caucus will be considered ‘not in line with the party,’” he said.
KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) was not convinced.
“With the social atmosphere we have now, it is already not easy for someone to fight for the KMT. Don’t assume that we are really that into running [in the election],” Lee said.
Separately yesterday, KMT Chairman and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) spoke in defense of the primary rule that the party would intervene in nominations to coordinate a candidate for a constituency where the incumbent did not poll at least 5 percentage points ahead of a contender.
Chu said it is a misunderstanding that the 5 percent threshold is unfairly biased against incumbent lawmakers because the rule would ensure that incumbent lawmakers get party nominations without entering a primary unless their contenders are proved to be a significantly stronger candidate.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
‘CROCODILE TEARS’: The Taiwan Statebuilding Party said the Kaohsiung mayor was only apologizing after a poll revealed that 45% of the city’s residents favored a recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) at a city council session yesterday apologized for taking three months off last year to campaign for January’s presidential election. Han said that he was now prioritizing municipal affairs and was focused primarily on preventing the spread of COVID-19. He was “doing two days’ work each day” to make up for time lost, he said. Han on May 5 attended a city council session for the first time in 201 days, giving a report on pandemic response measures. At yesterday’s session, Han said the Kaohsiung City Government would be injecting NT$50 million (US$1.67 million) into the
Taipei City Councilor Wu Pei-yi (吳沛憶) on Saturday urged the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs to designate the Japanese colonial-era Showa Building (昭和樓) a cultural heritage site to protect it from being demolished. Wu made the remarks after the department on Tuesday last week visited the building to evaluate it for preservation, a standard procedure before a public building that is more than 50 years old is razed. The Showa Building, on Zhongxiao E Road Sec 2, was a rare kind of office building when it was constructed in 1942, Wu said. The three-story building was built with reinforced concrete and has European-style
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to