2012 ELECTIONS: KMT supporters worried about election

By Huang Wei-chu and Hou Cheng-hsu  /  Staff Reporters

Sat, Nov 05, 2011 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials yesterday acknowledged that concern was growing among KMT supporters about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) chances of re-election.

Presidential national policy adviser Chen Ting-yun (陳釘雲) said he has heard of such worries among KMT supporters, adding that the controversy over Ma’s recent proposals of a cross-strait peace accord and small raises in monthly subsidies for elderly farmers is seen as harmful to Ma’s electoral outlook.

He was referring to Ma’s controversial proposal last month that his government would “cautiously consider” whether the nation should sign a peace agreement with China within the next decade, and the Cabinet’s proposed small increase in the monthly subsidies for elderly farmers from NT$6,000 to NT$6,316.

Despite Chen’s estimates last month that Ma would be able to lead Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by 300,000 to 500,000 votes in the election, Chen yesterday said that if nothing was done to contain the damage over the subsidy and cross-strait peace agreement issues, “it is going to go bad for Ma.”

Other KMT officials said that Ma’s proposed cross-strait peace accord has caused a backlash on Ma’s campaign efforts, adding that some pan-blue supporters who are pro-localization have said that they could not accept Ma’s proposal.

The rashness of his proposal has some KMT supporters worried that Taiwan would hold political negotiations with China too soon, several party officials said, adding that the rashness of the proposal was also directly to blame for Ma backtracking on his statements.

Chen said that in the past, the farmland irrigation associations usually backed the KMT, but seeing as there was a support group for Tsai founded by the Chia-Nan Water Resources Association last month, the DPP have started to compete with the KMT for the support of the sector.

The elderly farmers’ subsidy issue further shook the confidence of the sector in the KMT, Chen said, adding that these are all changing factors that must be closely watched.

KMT honorary chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) has also recently made public warnings that Ma’s re-election campaign is “getting tight,” with the DPP closing the gap between Tsai and Ma.

Tsai’s campaign tour along Provincial Highway No. 1 last month and the “three little pigs” campaign have all contributed to soaring support and passion for the DPP, KMT officials said.

Translated by Jake Chung