《TAIPEI TIMES》 KMT-TPP alliance falters over polling
From left, Taiwan People’s Party （TPP） Deputy Secretary-General Osmar Hsu; TPP Secretary-General Tom Chou; Ma Ying-jeou Foundation director Hsiao Hsu-tsen, Hsieh Cheng-ta, deputy director of Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） presidential candidate Hou You-yi’s campaign office; and KMT Deputy Secretary-General Chiang Chun-ting attend a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
COLLABORATION STILL POSSIBLE: Ko and Eric Chu said that they would continue to negotiate, but did not indicate they would back down on their polling positions
The Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） and the Taiwan People’s Party （TPP） yesterday failed to agree on a joint candidate for president, once again throwing into doubt their ability to unseat the ruling party in January’s election.
The parties were expected to announce an agreed-upon candidate yesterday at 10am, but instead announced that they needed further consultations after a disagreement over how to use polling data to make the selection.
On Wednesday, they reached an agreement to have poll experts selected by the KMT and the TPP assess the results of an aggregate of public polls released from Nov. 7 to Friday, along with internal polls conducted by the two sides to determine which of the two parties’ candidates has the best chance of winning the Jan. 13 election.
After more than five hours of negotiations through Friday night, the two sides could not reach an agreement over which polls to consider and how large the margin of error should be.
TPP Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je （柯文哲） had agreed that if he came out ahead in the polling results, but his lead was within a margin of error, he would count that as a win for New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi （侯友宜）, the KMT’s presidential candidate.
The KMT and the TPP insist their reading of the polls is the correct one, with the KMT’s showing that if Hou was the presidential candidate then the joint team with Ko as running mate would beat Vice President William Lai （賴清德）, the Democratic Progressive Party’s （DPP） presidential candidate, which is not what the TPP’s shows.
As of yesterday, the parties were still unable to agree on how to interpret the polling data and whether landline-only polls should be used.
Nevertheless, the two sides have not relinquished hope of collaborating for the election, with Ko and KMT Chairman Eric Chu （朱立倫） telling separate news conferences that they would continue negotiating ahead of the deadline on Friday next week for candidates to register with the Central Election Committee.
Regarding whether talks had broken down for good, former Taipei mayor Ko, who has previously said that the things he hates the most are “mosquitoes, cockroaches and the KMT,” yesterday said that anything was possible before Friday next week, but he could not be expected to “surrender” to the KMT on the poll issue.
“We hope we can continue to consult with the KMT,” he said.
Chu told a separate news conference that cooperation remained the aim, but did not indicate he would back down on the polls issue.
“We hope to reach consensus as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ko and Hou individually trail in the polls with Lai as the frontrunner.
A fourth candidate, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co （鴻海精密） founder Terry Gou （郭台銘）, has thrown his hat in the ring as well.
The DPP, which many have speculated would tomorrow announce Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim （蕭美琴） as Lai’s running mate, said that only China stands to gain from the KMT and TPP aligning.