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New Taipei vice mayor denies election plans
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-03 02:42 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – New Taipei City Vice Mayor Hou Yu-ih on Friday denied he had rejoined the ruling Kuomintang only to prepare for a bid in December’s mayoral elections.

Incumbent Eric Liluan Chu is the favorite according to opinion polls, but he has still not announced whether he will run for a second term in the December 6 elections. Speculation has mounted that he wanted to focus on a bid to succeed President Ma Ying-jeou in the early 2016 presidential election instead. There were also possibilities that he would become premier or run for mayor of neighboring Taipei City, reports said.

Hou said he had rejoined the ruling party merely because he approved of its policies in the New Taipei City Government. He compared his decision to the one made by Premier Jiang Yi-huah last year.

In both cases, government officials approved of the work the KMT was doing, so they decided to file membership applications, Hou said. Like many Taiwanese citizens, both were KMT members long ago but let their membership lapse later on. Hou gained an image as being close to the Democratic Progressive Party when he served as national police chief under President Chen Shui-bian.

The opposition party chose former Premier Yu Shyi-kun as its candidate for mayor of New Taipei City. Former DPP lawmaker Julian Kuo created a stir earlier in the week by claiming the party’s Central Executive Committee would delay the official confirmation of Yu’s candidacy originally scheduled for January 15 because of his poor performance in the opinion polls. The DPP would try to persuade its chairman, Su Tseng-chang, to run for mayor, a position he already won twice, Kuo said.

Su and the DPP leadership strongly rejected the former lawmaker’s comments, saying they were merely a rumor. Yu had been selected by DPP-organized opinion polls so there was no reason to postpone his confirmation, officials said.

On the KMT side, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan has sometimes been named as a candidate if Chu decided not to run. Lee also served as his deputy mayor before Hou joined the city government.

KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung denied media reports that Ma, who also serves as party chairman, only knew about Hou’s return by reading the newspapers. He knew all along because party membership applications by senior government officials are reported to the chairman, Yang said.

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