KMT confirms 33 of 34 candidates on legislator-at-large list

Taipei-The Kuomintang (KMT) Central Committee approved the party's legislator-at-large candidate list Saturday morning, with the exception of former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-yao (???), whose No. 17 listing was voted down by a 57-106 margin.

The vote caps a rocky week for the KMT, which first released the list on Wednesday but was criticized for the lack of younger candidates and including candidates with controversial views on China.

Two days later, a revised list was announced, which the party finalized Saturday, approximately two months ahead of Taiwan's Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.

Legislators-at-large comprise 34 of the 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, and are selected using a separate ballot on which voters choose their preferred political party, rather than individual candidates tied to electoral districts. Parties receiving at least 5 percent of votes on the at-large ballot are allocated seats in proportion to their vote count.

Ahead of Saturday's vote, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (???) had spoken supportively of Chang's inclusion on the revised list, noting his extensive experience in cross-strait matters, including as a deputy minister at the MAC and secretary-general of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation.

Others in the party questioned the move in light of Chang's August 2014 resignation from both positions under allegations of spying for China, of which he was eventually cleared.

According to the KMT's Organizational Development Committee, however, Chang was not in attendance at the Central Committee meeting Saturday to make a required one-minute speech on his political views, and efforts to reach him failed.

Although the candidate arrived later in the morning, his confirmation had already been voted down by the committee.

In contrast, retired Lt. Gen. Wu Sz-huai (???), a pension reform activist who has been criticized for appearing at a 2016 Chinese government event commemorating Sun Yat-sen (???), was confirmed for the No. 4 position with a narrow 84-82 vote.

Meanwhile, the highest vote-getter was former Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Tseng Ming-chung (???), who was approved for the No. 1 listing with a 162-13 margin.

Party Chairman Wu, who moved his own listing from No. 10 to No. 14 after criticism that the initial placement practically ensured his election, was approved with a 127-58 vote.

When asked by reporters if he was satisfied with his vote count, Wu replied "I can't say I'm satisfied," but added that he would continue to make improvements to win over those who voted against him.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel