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TPP rejects latest KMT plan for selection of presidential candidate

KMT proposes combination of polls with vote by legislative candidates to Taiwan People’s Party

KMT Chair Eric Chu explains his latest proposal to the media Friday. 

KMT Chair Eric Chu explains his latest proposal to the media Friday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chair Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has rejected the latest Kuomintang (KMT) proposal to choose a joint presidential candidate via a combination of opinion polls and a vote by legislative candidates from the two parties, reports said Friday (Nov. 3).

The two opposition parties have attempted to form an alliance for the Jan. 13 presidential and legislative elections but have failed to bridge differences about the selection method for a joint presidential candidate. The latest attempt was a phone conversation between Ko and KMT Chair Eric Chu (朱立倫) Thursday (Nov. 2) evening.

Under the KMT proposal, all candidates for the Legislative Yuan elections would have the right to cast an anonymous vote for the presidential candidate. The result would account for 50%, with the other 50% to be determined by opinion polls, Chu said.

The winner would become the presidential candidate, the loser his running mate, according to Chu. In most recent opinion polls, support for Ko has shown a slight lead over KMT presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), though both were about 10% behind Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

At a news conference earlier Friday, Ko said that since the KMT had nominated 69 legislative candidates, and the TPP 11, no vote was needed to know the outcome, CNA reported. As to a KMT proposal to include the popularity of the political parties as a factor, Ko said this would exclude the opinions of neutral and centrist voters.

Ko nevertheless said he would be willing to accept the vice-presidential position in an alliance with the KMT and would continue to work for an opposition victory, per Radio Taiwan International (RTI). If the poll results showed him within the margin of error from Hou, he would accept the vice-presidential position and let Hou run for president, he said.

Both Chu and Ko told separate news conferences that they were not setting any deadlines for a decision on a formula. However, Nov. 20 has been widely regarded as a deadline as it is the start of the registration process for presidential and vice-presidential candidates at the Central Election Commission.