Negotiations over a potential “blue-white alliance” for next year’s presidential election remained deadlocked yesterday, with the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) saying that the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) demand for a swift response to its appeal for a joint ticket was like a “forced marriage,” which the KMT rebutted by saying it only wanted to ascertain who would be “the bride and the groom.”
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, said for the first time in an interview with three Chinese-language dailies — the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), United Daily News and China Times — that he would not insist on being the presidential candidate on a joint ticket with the smaller opposition TPP.
Hou said he was open to running as vice president alongside rival candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of the TPP to unseat the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
However, Hou stressed the necessity of being on the same ticket with Ko, who had earlier said that if he leads the presidential ticket, the vice presidential position could be open to anyone recommended by the KMT.
“For the KMT-TPP alliance to be completed and achieve a change in [ruling] parties, the names of both individuals [his and Ko’s] must be on the same ballot,” Hou said.
The KMT and the TPP have been deadlocked on how to present a unified front in the election to challenge the DPP, because both Hou and Ko want to head a presidential ticket, and the parties have disagreed on how to determine the best choice.
The KMT has proposed conducting an open primary, while the TPP has suggested conducting polls.
The polling methodology proposed by the TPP involves 50 percent representation from landline surveys and 50 percent from mobile phone surveys, or exclusively using mobile phones.
Hou said in the interview that the top billing could be decided by incorporating both a primary and polls, with each given equal weight, an apparent compromise intended to resolve the deadlock.
Hou’s campaign office previously announced plans to conduct the primary on Nov. 5.
Hou said that preparations for such a vote would take approximately 10 days.
Based on this timeline, he said he expects a response from Ko by today.
Ko yesterday said that issuing an ultimatum and demanding a response within a day is not the way to go.
“It feels like a major party suppressing a smaller one,” Ko said, likening Hou’s proposal to a “forced marriage” that leaves him with no room for choice.
Ko said he hoped the stalemate could be resolved before the end of the month.
Later yesterday, Hou held a press conference alongside KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), saying that whether it is the TPP’s timetable of the end of this month or the KMT’s Nov. 5 deadline, time is of the essence and they would just like Ko to ascertain whether “the ones in the marriage are Ko and Hou” before negotiations could continue.
“Only when both sides are willing can the marriage be successful,” Hou added.
Additional reporting by Lin Hsin-han and Huang Chin-hsuan
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