KMT struggling to finalize next year’s candidates

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Nov 22, 2013 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is struggling to finalize its candidates for the seven-in-one elections next year, as party hopefuls are competing to obtain nominations in key cities and counties.

In central Taiwan where the mayoral elections are seen as a major battleground, some KMT hopefuls have declined to declare their intention to run amid the fierce competition.

For example, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) has yet to confirm whether he will seek re-election, which could squeeze the party’s nomination schedule in the city if he decides not to run.

On the other hand, the KMT is struggling to find a candidate to succeed Changhua County Commissioner Chu Po-yuan (卓伯源), who is finishing his second and final term, and will not be able to seek re-election.

The prospects in pan-green strongholds in the south is even more difficult for the KMT, with the party lacking a strong candidate to run for Greater Tainan mayor. In Greater Kaohsiung, the party plans to nominate former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsin (楊秋興).

In Taipei, Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) will also complete his final term next year. While KMT legislators Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), and Taipei City councilors Yang Shi-chiu (楊實秋) and Chin Hui-chu (秦慧珠) have declared their intention to run.

Former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), a top contender among the hopefuls, has declined to answer whether he will join the race.

In response to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) pledge to win at least half of the 22 administrative zones across the country in next year’s elections, KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said the party has set up a nomination procedure and will follow the timetable while continuing to negotiate with hopefuls to finalize its list.

Hau defended the KMT’s nomination mechanism, and said Su was overoptimistic about the DPP’s performance in next year’s elections.

“The KMT will find the best candidates via the primaries... I think the DPP’s estimates are overoptimistic,” he said.

The DPP announced its first batch of candidates for the elections on Wednesday.

The KMT will announce its first candidates on Dec. 25.