Tue, Apr 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT still hoping to beef up presence in south Taiwan

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) yesterday confirmed the party plans for legislators-at-large to set up offices in southern Taiwan, a traditionally a pan-green stronghold.

However, the details have to be run by new KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) before anything would be implemented, Lin said.

Hung’s predecessor, Eric Chu (朱立倫), had planned to have some of the legislators-at-large be “backup candidates” for future county commissioner and mayoral elections.

Had Chu’s plan been implemented, the KMT could have developed a comparatively stronger presence in southern Taiwan, given former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and former lawmaker Huang Chao-shun’s (黃昭順) deep connections with Kaohsiung, former Taoyuan county commissioner John Wu’s (吳志揚) ties to Taoyuan, and former lawmakers Chang Li-shan’s (張麗善) and Hsu Chen-wei’s (徐榛蔚) strengths in Yunlin County and Hualien County respectively.

Chu planned for the legislators-at-large to “adopt” other constituencies in the south to help them carve out more prominent roles in local life, adding that the original plan was for Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) to “adopt” Pingtung County, while Chen Yi-min (陳宜民) and Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁) would be in Kaohsiung.

Lin Li-chan (林麗蟬) would have been asked to establish a presence in Changhua County, Tseng Ming-tsung (曾銘宗) in Chiayi and Wang Yu-min (王育敏) in Chiayi County, party sources said.

The sources said that Lin Li-chan has opened an office in Changhua and Yuanlin Township (員林) to help the party extend its presence in southern Changhua County, while Chen has set up an office in Kaohsiung’s Fengshan District (鳳山).

Hsu said he has been told of “relevant plans,” but they are not finalized, adding that the party has only asked him to open an office in the area, but said nothing about helping in local elections.

Tseng said he has not received any word from the party about establishing an office in other counties.

Ko said she was asked to start an office and lay the groundwork to further the party’s presence in her hometown of Pingtung by former KMT secretary-general Li Shu-chuan (李四川).

However, she said that Pingtung County and Chiayi would be more difficult.

Ko said she was scheduled to meet with Hung, Hsu and Tseng this week, adding that KMT legislators would follow the party’s directives.

Other KMT members said Chu’s idea of having legislators seen as “backup candidates” for commissioners and mayors step down from the Legislative Yuan to run in the 2018 elections might not be followed to the letter.

Given the KMT’s landslide loss in January’s presidential and legislative elections, Hung might have difference ideas, the sources said.

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