Tue, Jun 19, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Reforms will sway vote in KMT’s favor, officials say

By Lin Liang-sheng and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The backlash from pension reforms would benefit the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections, KMT campaigners said.

As the controversial military pension reform bill, which has sparked prolonged protests, is being reviewed at a provisional session of the Legislative Yuan, pension cuts for public-school teachers and civil servants are scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Many retired military personnel, public-school teachers and civil servants are KMT members or traditional supporters of the party, KMT Organizational Development Committee director Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said.

Ahead of the 2014 and 2016 elections, then-president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration proposed canceling year-end bonuses for retired military personnel, public-school teachers and civil servants, and many such supporters were unwilling to come out to vote, Lee said.

Many KMT candidates received fewer votes than in previous elections and some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidates won without increasing their votes, he said.

“The effect of the pension reform that the DPP is pushing is bound to be greater than that of the year-end bonus cancelations,” he added.

The effect would be greater in cities and counties where the groups make up more of the population, such as the central and southern regions, the outlying islands and rural areas, an unnamed KTM campaigner said on Sunday.

Penghu County, which elected the DPP’s Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復) as commissioner in 2014, is one of the localities that could be swayed to vote for the KMT this year because of the pension reform, the source said.

The cancellation of year-end bonuses by the Ma government and low voter turnout among the groups were crucial to the KMT’s weak performance in the 2014 nine-in-one elections and 2016 general and presidential elections, KMT Yunlin County commissioner candidate Chang Li-shan (張麗善) said.

However, the scope of the DPP government’s pension reforms is much larger, she said, adding that many people would immediately face difficulties as a result of the reforms.

Meanwhile, as retired public-school teachers and civil servants begin receiving notices of recalculations of their pensions that are to take effect next month, many are reportedly filing appeals and applying for other administrative remedies.

The Ministry of Civil Service this month began mailing notices of pension recalculations and many people have reported that the cut they are taking is more than the government had promised, Lee said.

The KMT’s Yunlin chapter has over the past two days been overrun by people seeking assistance with appeals, he said.

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