The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has launched a campaign bus tour in preparation for next year’s seven-in-one elections and is scheduled to begin nominating candidates for the major elections after the conclusion of its party congress next month, KMT Vice Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said on Saturday.
“The KMT decided to launch the bus tour after several grassroots members urged us to prepare potential candidates for the elections as soon as possible,” Tseng said, adding that the party also planned to start campaigning and mapping out election strategies early.
According to KMT members familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, candidates in constituencies that are less complicated or electoral districts in which the party has completed its strategic planning would be among the first wave of candidates to be announced next month.
“The KMT has finished strategic planning in most boroughs and villages around the country,” the members said.
“It also plans to hold early candidate nominations for mayoral and commissioner posts of KMT-controlled cities and counties for which no other party members except for the current post holders have expressed an interest in running,” they said.
Among them are Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City, Taitung County and Yunlin County, the members added.
As for cities and counties that have attracted more than two candidate hopefuls within the party, such as Taipei, Keelung, Changhua County, Miaoli County and Nantou County, the party would not begin nominating candidates for these electoral districts until after next year’s Lunar New Year holiday, the members said.
They said that the nominating process for the post of Hsinchu County commissioner, where negotiations between local factions are pending, and for the mayoral posts of Greater Taichung and New Taipei City (新北市), whose current office holders have yet to announce whether they intend to run for re-election, also would not commence until February next year.
With regard to the party’s mayoral candidates for the six special municipalities, there have been rumors that New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) will not seek re-election and that the party headquarters has been trying to persuade former Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) to run for the post.
However, the party members shrugged off such speculation, saying that having Chu run for re-election remains the party’s primary goal.
Turning to Greater Taichung, the party members said while the post was hotly contested, the KMT is still waiting for Mayor Jason Hu (胡自強) to announce whether he would seek re-election.
They are also paying close attention to any movements by former Association of East Asian Relations chairman Liao Liou-yi (廖了以), who is also considered to be a possible candidate for the post.
As for the possible successor to Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), the party members said there are three likely candidates: former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) and KMT legislators Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Alex Tsai (蔡正元).
The party members said that while Minister Without Portfolio Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) could be the party’s most likely candidate for next year’s Greater Kaohsiung mayoral election, the party has not yet discovered a suitable candidate for the mayoral post of Greater Tainan, a traditional Democratic Progressive Party stronghold.
The seven-in-one elections — deemed by most political parties to be a vital prelude to the 2016 presidential election — will be held concurrently to pick the mayors of the six special municipalities, county commissioners, city mayors, five municipality councilors, county and city councilors, township wardens and councilors, borough wardens and village heads.