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ELECTION 2024/Opposition presidential candidate meeting yields no results amid stalemate

11/01/2023 02:33 PM
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From left: Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih; Chairman Eric Chu; Taiwan People
From left: Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih; Chairman Eric Chu; Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je. CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) The presidential candidates from Taiwan's two opposition parties convened on Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock and work out a collaboration strategy for the upcoming election, but failed to agree on how that joint presidential ticket would look.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) and Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) met with Taiwan People's Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in Taipei on Tuesday evening.

The highly anticipated meeting, which lasted about 53 minutes, was held after only limited progress had been made by the two parties to forge a partnership that could take on Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the presidential nominee of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in the Jan. 13 elections.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, TPP party spokesperson Christina Yang (楊寶楨) said the two sides had failed during the meeting to reach an agreement on how the presidential candidates would be selected.

To ascertain how Hou and Ko would fare in an election were the two parties to team up, the KMT has proposed conducting an open primary, while the TPP has suggested conducting national polls.

"The problem [of the ongoing stalemate] is that Hou is against conducting polls, but Ko has made it clear that it is too late to hold an open primary," Yang said.

Ko is optimistic that Chu will come up with a new plan. However, if he fails to, "a future meeting may be rendered unnecessary," the spokesperson said.

Ko himself also addressed the deadlock situation in another presser on Wednesday. He said that he does not need to be the presidential candidate on the joint ticket, but that he does insist on fair rules and competition in the process of deciding who would be.

In response, Chu told the press that both parties should contemplate how a workable plan could look, adding that he will draw on experiences of opposition cooperation in other countries.

Criticizing the latest opposition meeting as a behind-closed-doors political maneuver, the ruling DPP slammed Ko for not adhering to his proclaimed commitment to "openness and transparency."

In a press release, DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) urged the trio to offer a comprehensive explanation regarding the meeting.

He argued that the gathering appeared not only to be solely focused on behind-the-scenes political negotiations but also involved discussions on how to smear and attack the DPP.

(By Yeh Sui-ping, Kuo Chien-shen, Liu Kuan-ting, and Chung Yu-chen)


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