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PFP denies negotiating deal to withdraw its presidential candidate

2011/11/06 17:01:30

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) The People First Party (PFP) said Sunday there is no question of its chairman James Soong dropping his bid for president in exchange for legislative seats for the party, as has been reported. There have been no under-the-table negotiations between the PFP and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) on that issue, PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu said, responding to a China Times report that his party had asked for a guarantee of 11 legislative seats in exchange for Soong's withdrawal from the Jan. 14 presidential election. According to the paper, the PFP has been negotiating the deal through Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi. But Wu said Soong would not turn his back on the PFP supporters who had endorsed his candidacy. Last week, Soong delivered to the Central Election Commission the first batch of 355,589 signatures he had obtained in an endorsement campaign. According to law, Soong had to obtain signatures from at least 257,695 eligible voters (1.5 percent of the total electorate) before Nov.5 to be eligible to run for president because his party did not get 5 percent of the vote in the last national election in 2008. "It is a very heavy responsibility," Wu said. "Those signatures are like carvings on one's back." Meanwhile, the KMT also denied the report, saying no closed door negotiations between the two pan-blue parties had taken place. Neither of the two parties has ever shut the door on cooperation, but they have both insisted that should there be any cooperation, it would be transparent, KMT Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi said in a press release Sunday. Any form of cooperation between the KMT and PFP will be aimed at maximizing the pan-blue vote and preventing the opposition Democratic Progressive Party from benefiting from a split pan-blue vote, he said. KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju also denied the report, saying it was "unfounded and untrue." President Ma Ying-jeou's campaign office spokesperson Garfie Li joined the chorus of denials, saying the office never participated in any negotiations between the PFP and KMT.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Ann Chen)
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