Taipei-Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party on Friday revised its list of candidates for at-large legislators in the upcoming legislative elections, following criticism from top figures in the party, as well as its newer and younger members.
The Jan. 11 elections offer the KMT a chance to win back a legislative majority, following a crushing 2016 defeat which left it with only 35 seats, in comparison to 68 held by the governing Democratic Progressive Party.
At-large seats, which comprise 34 of the legislature's total 113 seats, are decided on a separate ballot in which voters select their preferred political party, not individual candidates tied to electoral districts. A party that wins at least 5 percent of the votes is eligible for a share of at-large legislator seats, which are allocated in proportion to each party's vote count.
Each party is putting together its list of candidates who would fill at-large seats it hopes to win.
The changes to the KMT's at-large list were announced after a meeting of its Central Standing Committee. Among the changes, party Chairman Wu Den-yih (???) was dropped from a safe No. 10 listing to a riskier position at No. 14.
Other moves include the delisting of controversial former lawmaker Chiu Yi (??), a supporter of China's unpopular "one country, two systems" policy, who voluntarily stood down from his spot at No. 8 on the list.
However, retired Lt. Gen. Wu Sz-huai (???), a pension reform activist who has drawn criticism for his 2016 attendance at a Chinese government event commemorating Sun Yat-sen (???), was retained in the No. 4 spot.
Also, in a possible effort to burnish the party's professional credentials, former Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Tseng Ming-chung (???) was moved to the No. 1 place on the list.
KMT Chairman Wu was criticized after the original list was revealed earlier this week. Critics within the party had said it was too self-serving for Wu and lacked diversity, because it did not include many younger and newer members of the party. They also feared the makeup of the list would not appeal to voters and might hurt the KMT's chances of winning many at-large seats.
After the meeting on Friday, KMT Chairman Wu downplayed the importance of the changes, denying to reporters that his hand had been forced by pressure from within the party.
"Because there were some problems, some 'trouble'," he said, using the English word, "we had to make some adjustments."
When asked about his demotion to the 14th spot on the list, Wu said that he "did not feel wronged."
KMT spokesman Ou-Yang Long (???), meanwhile, said the party had made the changes in line with public opinion, and retained Wu on the list so that he could serve as Legislative Yuan speaker if the KMT wins a majority.
Another potential issue the KMT faces is that of party factions, with Wu ally Li Te-wei (???) jumping from 18th to 12th place on the revised list, while Hsieh Lung-jie (???), a prominent backer of presidential nominee Han Kuo-yu (???), was dropped from 11th to a more marginal 15th place listing.
The party spokesman, however, denied the role of factions in party decision making, and said that in any case, Hsieh's seat was safe, with the KMT expecting to receive at least 15 of the 34 at-large legislator seats available.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel