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Yang Chiu-hsing launches Kaohsiung mayoral bid
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu asks for more time
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-24 03:05 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Minister without Portfolio Yang Chiu-hsing on Friday officially launched his bid to unseat Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, once his colleague in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Yang served as magistrate of Kaohsiung County from 200 until 2010, when the region was merged with Kaohsiung City to form a new area. Chen defeated him for the DPP nomination as its candidate for the new mayoral position, and he left the opposition party afterward to run against her as an independent.

Yang later joined the government as a minister without portfolio and as the manager of its office for Southern Taiwan. He joined the Kuomintang only last year.

At the news conference at the party’s Kaohsiung office Friday, Yang rejected allegations that he was a traitor and a rebel for switching parties. In his 35 years in politics, he had belonged to the opposition, run as an independent and joined the KMT, but he had never betrayed his ideals and principles, so he would not fear any attempts to paint him as a traitor, he said.

He launched into a strong attack against Chen’s administration, accusing it of pushing the nation’s second city toward bankruptcy. Kaohsiung had the highest unemployment rate of Taiwan’s five special municipalities and had reached a level of debt approaching NT$300 billion (US$9.9 billion), he said. The candidate cautioned that if policies did not change, Kaohsiung might become Taiwan’s first city to head into bankruptcy.

Most recent opinion polls have indicated that Chen was likely to be re-elected on November 29 by a landslide. Yang’s nomination was confirmed at a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting last Wednesday.

His KMT opponent in the 2010 mayoral election, lawmaker Huang Chao-shun, reportedly did not appear at Friday’s campaign launch.

Kaohsiung has widely been regarded as a DPP stronghold ever since former Premier Frank Hsieh ousted current Vice President Wu Den-yih from the mayoralty in 1998.

In the other four special municipalities, Tainan City Mayor William Lai has also been described as almost certain to win re-election. The KMT has yet to name a candidate to oppose him.

In Central Taiwan’s key city of Taichung, the DPP nominee, lawmaker Lin Chia-lung, has been performing well in the polls against incumbent Jason Hu, who has a long record in government, having served as Cabinet spokesman and foreign minister before being elected as mayor in 2001.

Considering the negative poll results, Hu has still not officially announced whether he was running for re-election or not, though he asked Friday to give him a few more days to make up his mind. If he had already decided to run, he would have announced it, he said.

In New Taipei City, the DPP has nominated former Premier Yu Shyi-kun but it is not yet sure whether KMT incumbent Eric Liluan Chu will run for re-election. Varying scenarios in the media have him concentrating on trying to win the KMT nomination for the 2016 presidential election, or joining the Cabinet or even moving over to Taipei City to run for mayor.

In the capital, the picture is more confused because of the uncertain position of the frontrunners in the opinion polls. On the KMT side, Central Committee member Sean Lien will likely wait until after the Lunar New Year holiday before announcing whether or not he will run. On the opposition side, independent Ko Wen-je faces three candidates from inside the DPP, but it was not yet clear how or if a single candidacy could be achieved.

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