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KMT seeks to break through DPP stranglehold in southern Taiwan
Central News Agency
2014-02-23 10:25 PM
Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) The ruling Kuomintang (KMT), whose support base is in northern Taiwan, will seek to break through opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) domination of local governments in southern Taiwan in the year-end seven-in-one elections, observers said Sunday. But KMT nominees for the seven cities and counties that are currently ruled by DPP politicians will face a tough challenge as the DPP is not simply enjoying a much higher popularity but also seeking to raise its vote gains in this traditional stronghold to extend victories to other parts of Taiwan and go on to boost its chance of winning the presidency in 2016. Taiwan is set to hold elections Nov. 29 to fill seven public offices -- mayors and councilors of the special municipalities; county magistrates and councilors; city mayors and councilors; township administrators and councilors; and borough and village chiefs. Of all cities and counties south of Yunlin, only Chiayi City is governed by a KMT member -- Huang Min-hui, making the city an important bridgehead, like Taichung Municipality in central Taiwan, that the ruling party cannot afford to lose. The KMT is likely to nominate former National Youth Commission Chairwoman Chen Yi-chen to run in the city, while the DPP is deploying former Environmental Protection Minister Twu Shiing-jer to "take back" what it calls the green-camp's "sacred city of democracy." In Yunlin County, incumbent DPP Magistrate Su Chih-fen will be stepping down, and the party is nominating Lee Chin-yung, a former acting magistrate, to take on Chang Li-shan of the KMT, sister of former magistrate Chang Jung-wei. The DPP's incumbent in Chiayi County, Chang Hwa-kuan, is seeking election, a decision that appeared to have daunted any KMT aspirant as no one has yet to throw in the towel to challenge her. The DPP's incumbents in Tainan and Kaohsiung municipal cities are posing even taller order for challengers as Lai Ching-te and Chen Chu are enjoying "absolute advantage" over likely rivals like former Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing, who will run on the KMT ticket against Chen. Tainan Mayor Lai seems to be cruising to another term, given the fact that his popular support has remained strong and no one in the pan-blue camp has dared to call his bluff. In Pingtung County, the KMT is fielding a strong candidate in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough in this firm base of the DPP. Chien Tai-lang, a former deputy interior minister and minister without portfolio, is being charged with the task of beating the DPP's Pan Meng-an, a legislator and former head of the party's local chapter. The DPP's difficulties lie in off-shore counties of Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang (Matsu), where the ruling KMT have always enjoyed a comfortable lead in the polls over the opposition party. (By S.C. Chang)
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