Chiu Yi heads New Party at-large list: reports

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The small pro-unification New Party surprised observers by putting outspoken former Kuomintang lawmaker Chiu Yi at the top of its at-large candidate list for the Legislative Yuan, reports said Wednesday.
Despite the move, announced by the Chinese-language Apple Daily but not confirmed by the party itself, the New Party was not expected to win any seats, commentators said.
Chiu has a long career behind him as an outspoken talk show guest, earning himself the wrath of Democratic Progressive Party supporters because of his accusations against the administration of President Chen Shui-bian before he left office in 2008.
Chiu’s star later waned, and he lost re-election as a KMT legislator. Some observers had expected him to appear on the ruling party’s at-large list, but when it was presented last week, he was not among the 34 candidates.
Even though Chiu has not had any public affiliation with the New Party, the group reportedly was going to put him at the top of its at-large list. According to the Apple Daily, Chiu told reporters he was not aware of the move.
Another surprise was the alleged presence of Hualien-born Vietnamese-Taiwanese celebrity Helen Thanh Dao, who is often labeled as “the Vietnamese Lin Chi-ling” by the media, on the New Party list.
When called by journalists, she reportedly also replied that nobody had told her about the nomination. Earlier in the week, she expressed disappointment at not being featured on the at-large list for presidential candidate James Soong’s People First Party.
According to an unnamed New Party member quoted by the Apple Daily, opinions about the list were divided, with some questioning Helen Thanh Dao’s contributions to the party while others praised the nominations as a breath of fresh air.
The heyday of the New Party is situated in the 1990s, when it broke away from the KMT. However, after 2000 it was overshadowed by the PFP, only occasionally winning seats in the Taipei City Council.