KMT, PFP to unite for Kaohsiung race

The China Post staff

The opposition alliance yesterday reached a decision to jointly nominate a candidate for the pivotal Kaohsiung mayoral race against the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) before mid-August. The decision was announced following a closed-door meeting between secretary-general of the Kuomintang (KMT) Lin Fong-cheng and his counterpart at the People First Party (PFP), David Chung. The two parties have consented to a joint nomination in a bid to win the heated election battle against incumbent Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh of the DPP. They also agreed to cross-party campaign efforts to ensure an election victory. According to Lin, a candidate will be named within two weeks to represent the opposition “pan-blue” alliance. We are racing against the clock now. And the sooner we collaborate, the higher our chances of winning, Lin noted.

Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Lien Chan told reporters that it was time to sit down with PFP Chairman James Soong and talk about election affairs in Kaohsiung.

The KMT has decided to recommend that Huang Jun-ying, vice president of I-Shou University, be the candidate for the election. Huang was preferred by the KMT nomination committee over two other prospective candidates, Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Huang Chi-chuan and lawmaker Yao Kao-chiao.

The two parties will have to make a final choice between Huang and the PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung before jointly endorsing the chosen one to run on behalf of the opposition alliance.

On the other hand, former interior minister and Chiayi mayor Chang Po-ya, a popular independent contestant in the race, might not win the endorsement of opposition camp, despite rumors that she was favored by the PFP. Huang, when asked if the opposition camp should take Chang into consideration for the sake of an election victory, said that it would be improper to let Chang represent the opposition parties since she is not formally affiliated with the KMT or the PFP. Huang’s competitors, although dismayed by the KMT election committee’s decision, did not make any immediate moves to run as independent candidates. Huang has yet to become the joint candidate of the opposition camp, former police administration chief Yao said, adding that he did not rule out the possibility of entering the mayoral race. As a professor teaching business, Huang noted that his public approval rating has risen from 0.8 percent up to 20 percent recently. I will do my best to seek the PFP’s support and I believe that the KMT and PFP, if they closely cooperate with each other, will earn the approval of a majority of Kaohsiung residents.