There are forces at work trying to block efforts by People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to collect enough signatures on a petition to take part in the presidential election, Soong said recently.Soong is still setting up the script for his presidential run later this year. In this one he defies the evil forces of the KMT to set forth on the road to glory. This conspiracy will also help explain why he hasn't collected enough signatures -- "I would have had a million, had it not been for the dastardly KMT! But I'm still running!" Nicely done. It might even be true.... if so, it points to another dynamic driving the election: the KMT's control of local officialdom, an advantage no other party can match.
PFP personnel said Soong’s campaign efforts are being blocked by government officials, while military and educational personnel, as well civil servants, were being encouraged not to help with petition collection work.
Even veterans are being closely watched by local Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chapters, a PFP source said, citing the example of unknown persons taking away petition letters in a veterans’ village in the Banciao District (板橋) of New Taipei City (新北市).
Meanwhile the DPP had an emotional rally in Taipei, with spokesman claiming 80,000 showed up. DPPer Hsiao Bi-khim said on her Facebook that people were throwing money onto the stage, and that small donations have been pouring in.
The President was also active as the campaigns start heating up. This weekend He headed to Hsinchu to work on Hakka votes and then back to Banqiao to stage rallies for the vote in northern Taiwan. As a result of the KMT's divide-and-rule ethnic politics, Taiwan's 4 million+ Hakkas are traditionally major supporters of the KMT. The DPP, however, has been making inroads into this voting bloc with blatant ethnic appeals. The DPP erected colleges of Hakka studies at local universities, a Council of Hakka Affairs, and a Hakka TV station during the Chen Administration. Tsai also just returned from the Hakka areas of Miaoli, Hsinchu, and Taoyuan, promising to make Hakka one of the national languages. Tsai herself is of Hakka descent, from Fangliao in Pingtung.
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