The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) expects 100,000 fewer voters for its chairmanship by-election on March 7 than in 2017, a party source said.
Today is the deadline for party members to pay their dues, allowing them eligibility to vote in the election, and the source said that the party expects only 310,000 members would be eligible to vote.
About 190,000 eligible voters are exempt from paying party dues, either because they became a senior member after 40 years or are from a middle or low-income household and at least 65 years old, the source said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
That figure excludes more than 10,000 people who became lifetime members after paying a one-time NT$10,000 fee, the source added.
Party members from the KMT’s influential Huang Fu-hsing chapter account for about 80,000 — more than 20 percent — of the eligible voters, the source said.
The chapter is known for its ability to mobilize members during elections, and anticipates a 60 to 70 percent turnout among its members, the source said, adding that this, coupled with concerns that fear over COVID-19 might affect overall turnout, could make the chapter a determining factor in the by-election.
The number of party members who have paid their dues has increased markedly in Changhua and Pingtung counties, as well as in Kaohsiung and New Taipei City, sources said.
In Changhua, about 7,000 members paid their dues, which could have been a result of mobilization by local factions backing the two candidates: former KMT vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), they said.
Another source said that the spike in Changhua members paying dues was not surprising, as it has more KMT executives and members than other regions.
As of yesterday, party dues owed were mostly paid individually or by households of two or three members rather than in a lump sum by dozens of members, the source said.
Even if Chiang’s and Hau’s supporters had mobilized factions to secure voting rights, that would not have been surprising, the source added.
The KMT said that it would start compiling a roster of eligible voters from tomorrow to Wednesday before publishing it for public viewing, and eligible voters would receive a notice informing them of the by-election.
The by-election is to fill the vacancy left by former KMT chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who stepped down last month after the party’s losses in the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.
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