The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday agreed to use public polling to decide on a coalition presidential ticket, with the result to be announced on Saturday.
New Taipei City Mayor and KMT candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and TPP Chairman and candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) met in a last-minute attempt to break a stalemate over who would represent the opposition on the presidential ballot for the Jan. 13 elections.
The parties met behind closed doors at the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation in Taipei, with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) serving as a witness.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
In a joint statement following the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, the participants said they had agreed to use polling results as the basis of their decision on whether Hou or Ko would lead the ballot as presidential candidate, and who would serve as running mate.
Polling experts would analyze the results of public opinion polls conducted from Tuesday last week to tomorrow, in addition to one poll conducted by each of the parties, they said.
For each poll, if a candidate wins by more than the margin of error, they would receive one point, but if neither exceeds the margin of error, it would count as one point toward a Hou-led ticket, they said.
This means that for Ko to earn a point, he would have to win a poll by more than the margin of error.
The KMT, the TPP and Ma would each nominate a polling expert of their choice, the statement said, adding that the result would be announced by the foundation on Saturday morning.
The parties were previously at an impasse on how to form a coalition ballot, with the KMT favoring an open primary and the TPP favoring opinion polls.
The decision appears to be a compromise between these positions, with the KMT conceding to the use of opinion polls, although its candidate is to be prioritized in close contests.
The two sides struck “a cooperation agreement, creating a new record in Taiwan’s political history,” Ma told reporters after the meeting.
“This cooperation will enable mutual assistance between the two parties in future elections and other aspects, making it a very memorable day for both parties,” he added.
“Regardless of the outcome, and no matter who is the presidential or vice presidential candidate, we must work hand-in-hand to ensure peace and stability in the Republic of China,” Hou said.
After the ballot is decided, the two parties are to form a joint campaign to assist all candidates from the two parties running in the legislative elections, the statement said.
They also agreed to form a coalition Cabinet if elected, with ministers other than for national defense, foreign affairs and cross-strait affairs — who are chosen by the president — to be decided based on the proportion of legislators from each party, it said.
The TPP would focus on government supervision, while the KMT would be responsible for construction and development, the statement said.
Candidates for the presidential election must formally register from Monday to Friday next week.
Kuo Ya-hui (郭雅慧), spokeswoman for Vice President William Lai’s (賴清德) campaign office, accused the parties of seeking to “share the spoils.”
Whether they team up or not, Lai, of the Democratic Progressive Party, remains the only candidate with a complete policy blueprint, she said, adding that their campaign would not be affected by the decision.
Additional reporting by Chen Yun, CNA and AFP
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