KMT candidates wary of being tied to Hung

REGIONAL FEARS::KMT Legislator Liao Kuo-tung said his colleagues in central and southern Taiwan have worries that Hung could be ‘far from a boost’ to their chances

By Chen Yen-ting and Shih Hsiao-kuang  /  Staff reporters

Sat, Jun 20, 2015 - Page 3

Some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers appear hesitant about their campaigns being tied to that of KMT presidential hopeful Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) because they are uncertain that Hung would boost their popularity.

After Hung was endorsed by the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday, during the nomination process KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Hung had discussed campaign strategy and proposed a joint office to run a combined presidential and legislative campaign for January’s elections.

The idea was not warmly received by some KMT lawmakers, who have doubts about the “effect of hens boosting chickens,” a term applied to politics meaning that a candidate of a higher-ranking election (hen) is so popular that they can boost the chances of winning for lower-level election candidates (chickens).

Hung’s nomination as presidential candidate is expected to be approved by the party’s national congress on July 19.

Although the “repercussions” Hung’s nomination is likely to have on the party’s legislative candidate remains to be seen, KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), a seven-term lawmaker in New Taipei City, said he has feeling he will have to wage the campaign “on my own” because the party has yet to get back on its feet after its drubbing in the nine-in-one elections last year.

KMT Legislator Wang Hui-mei (王惠美) said she has seen a rise in support for Hung in her constituency in Chunghua County, but it is swing voters that Hung must actively seek out and that would require her to “shake up her campaign team to ramp up its diversity.”

KMT Legislator Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟), who hails from Taichung, said his colleagues in central and southern Taiwan do have worries that Hung could be “far from a boost” to their campaigns.

The crux lies in whether Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a leading figure of the party’s localization factions, would be willing to dedicate himself to arousing public passion for the KMT, especially in terms of his connections, Liao said.

To alleviate the concerns that Hung’s nomination would make the party’s aspirants for the legislative election face an uphill battle, the KMT is considering putting forward more party heavyweights in the combined elections so that they can play the role of “hens.”

KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), the former Taipei mayor, has said he has not ruled out the possibility of running in a legislative district in southern Taiwan to “elevate the morale of the party,” while the KMT is trying to draft Vice Chairperson Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) to run for a legislative seat in Chiayi City, where she served as mayor from 2005 to last year.

The structure of any joint office for the presidential and legislative election campaigns is still under discussion, but it would serve as a platform through which Hung and the legislative candidates could coordinate their campaign tactics and activities, KMT sources said.