New Power Party (NPP) legislative candidate Neil Peng (馮光遠) yesterday announced his withdrawal from the race for New Taipei City’s first district, following a breakdown of “integration” talks with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lu Sun-ling (呂孫綾).
“This is a simple decision, but the stuff involved behind it is extremely complicated,” the author and playwright said. “We’re making the largest sacrifice possible to ensure [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator] Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) is ‘out,’ but there’s no way we can identify with a DPP which has already begun to ‘KMTize’ (國民黨化).”
He said that the DPP’s decision to directly nominate Lu — despite the breakdown of “integration” talks — represented the beginning of the “KMTization” of the party because it could be attributed to the influence of local factions, along with Lu’s family’s wealth and political connections.
He added that he would not support Lu in the election.
“I will cast an invalid ballot because there is no way I can support the values of Lu Tzu-chang (呂子昌), but the voters of New Taipei City can make their own decision,” he said, referring to Lu’s father, who served as a county councilor for the former Taipei County for more than 30 years.
Peng — who fought back tears several times during his remarks — was flanked by NPP Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正), the party official who has been responsible for negotiations with the DPP.
Both Peng and Huang wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Wu Yu-sheng out!” from an earlier recall campaign for which Peng was the organizer.
“We have to focus on the big picture of next year’s legislative elections: Peng can withdraw, but Wu has to be ‘out,’” said Huang, adding that the party was “sad” and “reluctant” to see Peng withdraw, with differing opinions within the party pushing the decision late into Tuesday night.
After Lu “tore up” an “integration” agreement between the two parties, the NPP had originally hoped that the DPP’s central governing committee would force her to get in line, only to see it directly nominate her for the seat on Tuesday, he said.
Hsinchu is now the only remaining legislative district for which the NPP and DPP have both fielded candidates.
Huang said the party was still committed to supporting its candidate in Hsinchu, Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), adding that the “latest information” he had was that Chiu would continue his campaign unless his rival, DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), agreed to “integration” polling.
Under “integration” polling, candidates’ support is gauged through a negotiated set of surveys, with both candidates agreeing to support whoever polls highest, with the other candidate withdrawing from the race.
Official registration to appear on the Jan. 16 ballot is to conclude on Friday next week.
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