Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative candidates in Greater Kaohsiung yesterday expressed concerns about the KMT’s outlook in the January presidential and legislative elections, accusing the party of not doing enough to support campaign efforts in the area.
The KMT’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting was held at Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts in Greater Kaohsiung to boost election momentum in the south. Several legislative candidates at the meeting said that the party could suffer in the elections because of poor campaigns.
“The election outlook is not bad, it’s very bad ... The president said the government has invested hundreds of billions in the south, but people in rural towns have not seen it. What voters know about is the NT$316 increase to farmers’ [monthly] pensions, which has become a laughing matter,” KMT Legislator Chung Chao-ho (鍾紹和) said.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
The government’s decision to raise the monthly subsidy for elderly farmers by only NT$316 would have a negative impact on the elections, he said, urging President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to increase the subsidy by at least NT$1,000 in order to gain support among farmers.
KMT legislative candidates Chiu Yu-hsuan (邱于軒) and Lin Kuo-cheng (林國正) complained of a lack of communication and campaigning efforts in the area.
“The party did not mobilize supporters when Chiu set up her campaign headquarters and we are seldom informed about the itineraries of the president and the premier. President Ma has only been to our electoral districts several times since his election in 2008,” Lin said.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who is expected to top the list of the KMT’s legislator-at-large nominees, acknowledged the party’s electoral outlook in the elections was far from optimistic, as supporter mobilization in southern cities and counties have not met expectations.
“We expect all members to work harder to support President Ma’s re-election bid. On the other hand, the president needs a majority in the legislature to promote government policies and so the legislative elections are equally important as the presidential election,” he said.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, stressed his efforts in the development of Greater Kaohsiung, while defending his emphasis on pushing for development in the south.
He listed the government’s construction projects in the special municipality, including the development of the Kaohsiung Multi-Functional Economic and Trade Park and the Underground Railway Project, and said the government would continue to invest in Greater Kaohsiung.
“We have spent more money in Kaohsiung than the former Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] government did. We would not focus on construction in the north and ignore the south. Instead, we are putting more effort into developing areas that are falling behind,” Ma said.
While Chiu and some legislative candidates said the KMT was skimping on campaigning in local areas, they applauded the idea of using talismans as campaign promotions against DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “three little pigs” campaign.
Ma’s re-election campaign office began mass-producing the talismans as a campaign promotional souvenir after the president received amulets from several elderly ladies during his home stay in Greater Taichung over the weekend.
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