The formation of a “blue-white” alliance between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) for next year’s elections had been delayed for months. Yet the two parties have once again dragged the game into overtime.
After bickering over which methods to use, the two parties on Wednesday finally agreed to a joint presidential ticket using public and internal polling to decide who among New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) of the KMT and TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) would be the presidential candidate and who would be their running mate. The result was to be announced yesterday.
A closed-door meeting attended by Ko, Hou, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was acting as a witness, was held on Wednesday. The four men signed a document agreeing to six points. Point three stated that if Hou or Ko won by more than the statistical margin of error, they would get one point, but if the result was within the margin of error, the Hou-led ticket would gain one point. The details of the agreement were hazy, but many people believed that it was more favorable toward Hou. The TPP and Ko immediately faced criticism from supporters asking why Ko had conceded to “unfair” terms.
The two parties yesterday surprised the public by announcing that further negotiations were needed, as they had failed to agree on how the polls should be interpreted — having different understandings of what “statistical margin of error” meant.
The KMT said that the difference in support for a Hou-led ticket and a Ko-led ticket was within the margin of error for five polls, so the Hou-led ticket won five points from six polls, while the TPP said that it has agreed to a margin of error of 3 percent, which it interpreted as plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, so the Ko-led ticket had won three points from six polls, resulting in a draw.
The outcome of the alliances’ joint ticket is again up in the air, and the deadline for candidates to register with the election commission is Friday. Voters should take a hard look at the absurdity of the “blue-white” alliance and re-evaluate its ability to govern.
Ko’s remarks over the past few days should serve as a warning to his supporters regarding the TPP’s one-person decisionmaking mechanism and Ko’s suitability as a leader. Ko once said the things he hates the most are “mosquitoes, cockroaches and the KMT.” He also said the TPP aims to surpass the “green-blue” political divide and create a new political culture, and called for an “open and transparent” democratic government. He betrayed the TPP and his supporters by signing the agreement on Wednesday.
After signing the agreement during a closed-door meeting, contrary to Ko’s constant call for transparency, he admitted that he had overruled a collective decision made by his aides, but said he was “ambushed” by the KMT, and that the TPP would monitor the KMT’s governance if a Hou-led ticket won the election. That is strange, as he is proposing that the vice president monitor the president.
Ko even said he would attend further negotiations with a team of party members, as he is “easily duped” when alone.
Just three days after the KMT and the TPP hailed the agreement as a “historical moment,” the poll result announcement proved their alliance to be just as ambiguous as the so-called “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, referring to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
The TPP and KMT only have an understanding on “removing the Democratic Progressive Party from power,” but seem to have their own interpretations as to what that means.
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