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Ex-Premier Yu Shyi-kun wins DPP poll for New Taipei City
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-03 02:58 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Premier Yu Shyi-kun won the opinion poll to represent the main opposition party in next year’s election for mayor of New Taipei City, the Democratic Progressive Party announced Tuesday.

Yu defeated former government spokesman Chuang Sho-hang by a significant margin, the party said, although according to a previous agreement, it did not release the precise result. A third candidate, New Taipei City DPP party chief Lo Chih-cheng, dropped out of the race after complaining he had only two weeks to campaign and get his message across to voters.

The poll to decide between Yu and Chuang was conducted Monday evening by phone and resulted in 1,300 valid responses, DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao said.

The survey not only pitted Yu against Chuang, but also each candidate against the incumbent mayor, Eric Liluan Chu of the Kuomintang, even though he has still not announced whether he will be running for a second and final term. Chu is sometimes also mentioned as a potential premier and as a contender for the KMT candidacy in the 2016 presidential election.

Yu, 65, came under fire during the DPP campaign because he already served as Yilan County magistrate from 1989 to 1997 and as premier from 2002 to 2005 during the Chen Shui-bian Administration. Critics said he was too old and should step aside to allow a new generation of opposition politicians to gain administrative experience.

In a statement after his victory was announced, he called for party solidarity and described the upcoming race to turn New Taipei City from KMT blue to DPP green as a tug-of-war competition which needed work by a full team, not just by one heroic individual. He reminded the public that the area was once ruled by the DPP for 16 consecutive years when it was still known as Taipei County. Yu described next year’s election as a step toward an opposition victory in the presidential vote.

Yu’s candidacy was likely to be officially confirmed by a meeting of the DPP’s Central Executive Committee next month, reports said. The party still faced a complication because the Taiwan Solidarity Union wanted to nominate its secretary-general Lin Chih-chia to run for mayor, reports said. Lin told reporters he expected the two parties to talk and find a solution.

The party already announced seven candidacies in November. The list featured four incumbents including Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu and Tainan Mayor William Lai, and three winners of polls similar to Monday’s survey.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang has said that the party aimed to win at least three of the nation’s six special municipalities. It currently controls Kaohsiung and Tainan, both seen as opposition strongholds, while the KMT governs Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taichung and Taoyuan County, which will be upgraded to Taoyuan City at the December 2014 election.

The opposition faces the most difficult situation in the capital because the party’s mayoral candidacy is likely to be contested by three members and one independent. Former Vice President Annette Lu, lawmaker Hsu Tain-tsair and attorney Wellington Koo have all announced bids to participate in polls, but outside the DPP, physician Ko Wen-je has been preparing to run for mayor of the opposition camp.

Without officially announcing a bid, Ko has regularly topped general opinion polls, posing a dilemma for the DPP leadership. Either it can recruit him as the most viable candidate to win the election, which might upset his three rivals, or it might request him to join the DPP and run in the party poll.

On the KMT side, several lawmakers and city councilors have declared their interest in running for mayor, but most have been waiting to see whether and when Sean Lien, former Vice President Lien Chan’s elder son, declares a bid.

A recent poll put Ko more than five percent ahead of Lien if the two faced each other in December next year.

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