People First Party (PFP) presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday denied that his recent string of visits to local dignitaries across the nation was aimed at bringing vote brokers for other parties into his fold, saying he was just trying “to catch up with some of his old friends.”
“These people served as the vote brokers in my campaign for Taiwan provincial governor [in 1994.] So technically, I am not bringing them into my fold, but rather bringing them back,” Soong said as he paid visits to former Tainan city council speakers, including Lien Ching-tai (連清泰) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Li He-shun (李和順) of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union.
The politician also visited former Tainan county commissioner Lee Ya-chiao (李雅樵) of the KMT and the mother of former Tainan city council speaker Chou Ching-wen (周清文).
Soong was fervently greeted by local residents, among whom were former township councilors and borough wardens.
Some cheered: “President Soong, winning the election,” while others told the 73-year-old that they dearly missed “the era of order” when he was the provincial governor.
As the only former provincial governor who had visited 309 towns and villages across the nation, Soong said he has made many friends at the municipal level.
“Many of the people I have visited today used to fight by my side for Tainan. I would define this trip as a trip to get old friends back and make new ones. Together, we can strive for and bring new hope to our country,” Soong said.
At a time when the nation’s six special municipalities are all facing dire financial straits, with public infrastructure in the central and southern parts of the nation almost at a standstill, Soong said the nation must set aside the pan-blue-versus-pan-green political divide and rise above ethnic and political affiliations.
He added that harmony and collective action were much needed in Tainan’s political arena.
Earlier yesterday, former Chiayi county council speaker Hsiao Teng-piao (蕭登標) also threw his support behind Soong at a memorial service for the father of a PFP member that they attended together.
“Since neither the KMT nor the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] have managed to steer Taiwan into a better future during their respective eight-year reigns, it is time for an experienced politician like Soong to treat the country’s illnesses,” Hsiao said.
However, when asked whether his open endorsement meant that the entire Hsiao family, which has great political influence, supports Soong, Hsiao simply said: “I am merely supporting a friend. It does not mean anything.”
Chen Ching-jen (陳鏡仁), vice president of business conglomerate Nice Group and an old acquaintance of Soong, said on the sidelines of the ceremony that, given the DPP’s strong momentum, a win would be possible for the pan-blue camp only if the KMT joined hands with the PFP.
Asked which candidates he supports, Chen said he supports whoever is on the winning side.
Commenting on Soong’s closely watched trips yesterday, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said every candidate must make individual efforts to garner support, but stressed the need for unity.
Additional reporting by Chen Wei-tsung
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up