Lien to announce mayoral bid Feb. 24: reports
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-15 02:52 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Kuomintang Central Committee member Sean Lien, the elder son of former Vice President Lien Chan, will announce his bid for mayor of Taipei City on February 24, reports said Saturday.

Since several other party members, including lawmakers Ting Shou-chung and Alex Tsai, also want to represent the ruling party in the November 29 election, Lien will most likely have to compete in a primary.

He has overcome objections from his family against his wish to move into electoral politics, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported Saturday. His relatives have been concerned for his safety since an incident in 2010 in which he was shot in the face during a local campaign event.

After a recent trip to the United States to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, Lien reportedly passed through Hong Kong to settle his business affairs and then called a meeting of his closest advisers in Taipei to tell them about his decision.

In addition to frequent talks with his aides, Lien has also been seen appearing at politically tinted events, such as a dinner with local KMT politicians earlier in the week.

No decision had been made yet about a main theme for his campaign, though the meetings were focusing on analysis of past mayoral elections and on preparations for the primaries, the United Evening News reported.

A KMT spokesman said there was no timetable yet for the selection of a candidate in Taipei City. The process was expected to be completed by late April or early May, reports said.

Lien has been leading the opinion polls on the KMT side of the political divide, but the ruling party is expected to face a hard time trying to overcome low poll ratings for the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party has listed the aim of winning at least half the county magistrate and city mayoral seats up for grabs in the November regional and local elections.

Of the country’s six special municipalities, the DPP currently holds two, Kaohsiung and Tainan, which opinion polls say it is likely to hold on to. In Taichung, the KMT’s Jason Hu recently announced a bid to extend his 13-year rule of the city by another four years, but DPP candidate Lin Chia-lung is performing strongly in the polls.

New Taipei City and Taoyuan County, which is to be upgraded to Taoyuan City after the election, look better for the KMT, while the capital is difficult to predict.

Independent doctor Ko Wen-je has been the best performer on the opposition side, even outranking Lien by 47 percent to 44 percent in one recent survey, but his failure to join the DPP so far has overshadowed his bid.

At a meeting Friday, the opposition party gave Ko until February 19 to decide whether or not he would join in the DPP’s selection process, where candidates are chosen by opinion polls.

Some of the five DPP members striving to be the mayoral candidate have vehemently opposed the inclusion of an outsider like Ko.

The National Taiwan University Hospital traumatology chief said that he would talk to people close to DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, but added that he might not reach a decision before next Wednesday. Ko has been reluctant to join the DPP because he wants to form a broad alliance of opposition forces to unseat the KMT, which has governed Taipei City for 16 years.

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