ELECTION 2024/KMT, TPP to form joint presidential ticket based upon polls (update)
Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) The Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) agreed on Wednesday after months of deadlock to form a joint presidential ticket in Taiwan's 2024 presidential election, with the top of the ticket to be determined through public polls.
The agreement came after a two-hour meeting between KMT presidential nominee Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), TPP chairman and presidential nominee Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), with former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also in attendance.
Though a joint statement issued after the meeting said poll results would determine who would head the ticket in the Jan. 13, 2024 presidential election, it was somewhat vague on how polls would be weighed and how the results would be determined.
According to the statement, former President Ma, the KMT, and the TPP would each recommend a polling expert, and the three experts will then assess poll results released publicly from Nov. 7 to Nov. 17 and the results of internal KMT and TPP polls to determine the ticket.
The results will be announced by the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation on Nov. 18, the statement said.
The four attendees all gave short remarks before quickly leaving the meeting venue without answering questions or providing more details on how polling data will be gauged.
A smiling Ma, who held both Hou's and Ko's hands, described the agreement as "a new milestone in Taiwan's political history."
"I consider this a significant day for both Taiwan and our respective parties. We are committed to giving our best efforts [in the election] in accordance with the cooperation agreement," Ma said.
Hou, wearing a pin of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan's formal name) on his navy blue jacket, said the result will be out in the next few days.
"Regardless of the outcome, let's work together as a team," he said.
Chu, meanwhile, said the joint campaign and the future formation of a coalition government would make Taiwan's society better.
"More importantly, we will work hard to meet the expectations of over 60 percent of mainstream public opinion and achieve victory," Chu said, citing recent polls that indicate support for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) was below 40 percent.
Ko also praised the agreement as "historic," as Taiwan has never had a coalition government in its history.
At a forum later Wednesday, however, Ko said he was in a bad mood when asked why he decided to work with the KMT, a party he once expressed a strong dislike for.
"As a family member of the victims of the 228 Incident, I certainly don't harbor fondness for the KMT, but I never anticipated the DPP would go downhill so quickly," he said.
The 228 Incident denotes a brutal suppression initiated by the KMT in response to anti-government protests that commenced on Feb. 28, 1947, lasting for several weeks and resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.
Ko said he will be closely monitoring the KMT's every move. "Without scrutiny, it will be corrupt as well," he said.
The statement issued followed Wednesday's meeting also laid out other details on how the two parties will work together.
It said a joint campaign committee will be established by the two parties to campaign for the joint presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as legislative candidates recommended by both parties.
In the presence of former President Ma, the statement said, the KMT and the TPP pledged to establish a coalition government.
With the exception of ministers of national defense, foreign affairs, and cross-strait affairs, which are decided by the president, other ministries will be selected based on the proportion of legislators from each party, it said.
The TPP will focus on supervision and checks and balances, while the KMT will be responsible for Taiwan's construction and development, according to the statement.
Taiwanese voters will go to the polls on Jan. 13, 2024 to elect the president and all 113 members of the Legislative Yuan.
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