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KMT ends election strategy panel operations amid controversy

03/18/2023 09:46 PM
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Kuomintang figureheads KMT Chairman Eric Chu and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih. CNA file photo
Kuomintang figureheads KMT Chairman Eric Chu and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih. CNA file photo

Taipei, March 18 (CNA) The Kuomintang (KMT), the largest opposition party in Taiwan, on Saturday announced it has terminated an election strategy panel set up earlier in the week to recommend candidates for the presidential and legislative elections in 2024, after an internal outcry against some of its members who were previously embroiled in corruption scandals.

At a news conference, Justin Huang (黃健庭), KMT secretary general, apologized to the party's supporters for the controversy, saying that going forward, the nomination process will be conducted under the previous mechanism, whereby party officials at central and local levels propose candidates and the central nomination committee reviews and make a final decision on the roster of potential candidates submitted.

As the convener of the election strategy panel, Huang said he was mainly responsible for the controversy caused by the panel's composition.

On Wednesday, the KMT set up the election strategy panel, including lawmaker Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁), who was convicted of manipulating prices on the local equity market in 2020 and former Tainan City Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教), who lost his position after being convicted of vote-buying in a speakership vote in 2016.

The inclusion of Fu and Lee sparked strong protests, with New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of the KMT, who is widely viewed as one of the party's potential presidential candidates, saying on his Facebook page that he opposed the involvement of any political figures involved in corruption as the public opposes graft in all forms.

In addition, Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), a talk show host and KMT opinion leader, urged the party to scrap the election strategy panel immediately.

Huang said the formation of the election strategy panel simply extended from its predecessor, which had been organized for the 2022 nine-in-one local government elections in which the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) faced a crushing defeat in the vote in 22 cities and counties around Taiwan.

By taking into account difficult electoral districts, such as Tainan and Kaohsiung, where the DPP has a strong support base, Huang said he wanted to expand the composition of the panel to have more resources available in a bid to win the upcoming elections.

After apologizing for his decision to include controversial figures on the panel, Huang urged KMT members and the party's supporters to unite and face the upcoming challenges to their victory, referring to the 2024 presidential and legislative elections.

Huang said the central nomination committee will be convened by KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), who will invite the party's city mayors and county magistrates as well as public opinion leaders to join the committee.

Sources from the KMT told CNA that Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), Taoyuan Mayor Simon Chang (張善政) and Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who was recalled as Kaohsiung mayor in June 2020, are expected to be invited to serve on the central nomination committee.

The sources said the nomination committee will be established on March 22 at the earliest.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Wen Kuei-hsiang, and Frances Huang)


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