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DPP conducts polls to select Taipei mayoral contender
Winner of first phase to be announced Wednesday noon
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-13 04:42 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three contenders were facing each other in opinion polls Tuesday evening in the first phase of a process to pick the opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate for mayor of Taipei City.

A second phase will pit the winner, to be announced Wednesday noon, against independent candidates Ko Wen-je and Neil Peng within a month.

The two-tier opinion poll method was adopted after Ko consistently led the opposition field to challenge Kuomintang candidate Sean Lien in the November 29 election.

The three official DPP contenders were attorney Wellington Koo and lawmakers Yao Wen-chih, a former Cabinet spokesman, and Hsu Tain-tsair, a former mayor of Tainan City. Former Vice President Annette Lu announced last Saturday she was dropping out of the official selection process, though she added she still held on to the right to run for election.

Lu has been Ko’s fiercest critic, faulting him for refusing to join the DPP and for not sharing its values. The outspoken trauma expert said that joining the main opposition party would harm his appeal to independent voters wary of all political groups.

Tuesday evening’s polls would compare each of the three DPP contenders to Lien, the party said. Koo said he would not launch any ads on Tuesday but would ask friendly members of the Taipei City Council to send text messages to supporters. Hsu said he would lead a motorcade through several parts of the capital, while Yao traveled by ship on the Tamshui River to emphasize the need for a new approach to urbanization.

Ko said he expected the gap between winner and second-placed candidate to be as narrow as 3 percent, though he did not provide details about his reasoning. Koo questioned how the physician could suddenly turn into an expert in opinion polls.

Not only has Ko outpolled his DPP rivals for the opposition nomination, but recent opinion polls have also been putting him ahead of Lien, the elder son of former Vice President Lien Chan and a member of the KMT’s Central Committee.

The ruling party candidate has been trying to fight off the image as a son of privilege because of his wealthy family background.

All city mayors, county magistrates and councilors face elections on November 29, with the biggest prizes the six special municipalities of Taipei, New Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan.

The DPP has set winning more than half the mayoral positions as its main target. Kaohsiung and Tainan are regarded as opposition strongholds, while in Taichung DPP candidate Lin Chia-lung has been leading the polls against incumbent Jason Hu.

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