Sun, Apr 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT still lacks candidates for township posts

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) does not have enough nominees for November’s elections for township mayors and council members, putting the party in a bind.

A report to the KMT Central Standing Committee on Wednesday last week said that the party has only nominated 48 candidates for the nation’s 204 townships, while it is still processing 49 nominees and has yet to hold primaries for 107 townships.

The party has completed nomination efforts for 99 of the 216 electoral districts for city and county council members, while 48 districts are ongoing and 66 districts remain without candidates, the report said.

There is a lack of candidates for elected offices in challenging townships in areas such as Chiayi County, Pingtung County and Tainan, said a source in the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that even when party members volunteer, such as in Yunlin County, they did not wish to align themselves with the party to minimize their affiliation with the KMT.

An aide in the Pingtung party chapter said that high registration fees for the party primary might be a factor, but added that potential nominees are most likely dissuaded from running because of pan-green support in the county, especially as elections are traditionally a one-on-one affair.

The party’s Pingtung branch is still calling for volunteers, the aide added.

At least half of the 33 townships in Pingtung are not expected to offer a KMT candidate, a deviation from party chapter estimates that all townships would have at least one KMT candidate, the aide said.

“We hope that any KMT nominee running in the election as a non-aligned candidate would at least give the party a ‘heads up,’” the aide said.

Chiayi is in the worst shape, as primaries for county council members and township mayors have yet to begin, a source in the Chiayi party branch said.

The county’s 18 townships, apart from Alishan Township (阿里山), an Aboriginal community, have demonstrated strong support for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chiayi source said.

The KMT has only found willing nominees in Shueishang (水上) and Yijhu (義竹) townships, although the Yijhu candidate would only run as an independent candidate and the Shueishang candidate has yet to make a definitive commitment to running, the Chiayi source said.

Only claiming 10 seats out of 37 on the Chiayi County Council, with few new faces in the fourth and sixth electoral districts willing to run for the position, the party would prioritize keeping its current 10 seats, the Chiayi source said.

The KMT candidate for Chiayi County commissioner, Wu Yu-jen (吳育仁), said the party would have to resort to propaganda to encourage new blood to step up.

It is important to have a foothold in the county, Wu said, adding that the party has a chance of winning in Minsyong (民雄) and Singang (新港) townships, the second electoral district.

Having a campaign partner who was a graduate of National Chung Cheng University, the local university, would give him a chance of winning the election, he added.

In Tainan, a DPP stronghold, the KMT is still scrambling for candidates, because the two incumbent councilors are not running for another term, Tainan party chapter director-general Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) said.

The party chapter is still calling for volunteers, as three city council electoral districts lack sufficient members and two districts have no female nominees, Hsieh said.

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