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KMT drops Keelung mayoral candidate
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-09 05:54 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The ruling Kuomintang decided Wednesday to drop Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai as its mayoral candidate for the city after he became embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Top KMT officials had been raising pressure on the party leadership over the past few days as opinion polls showed Huang faced defeat in the race for the November 29 election.

At its regular weekly Central Standing Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, the party reportedly accepted a motion from Vice Chairman and Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin to cancel Huang’s nomination.

It was not immediately clear how the KMT would proceed to find a new candidate, but media reports suggested they would be no more primaries and a candidate might be directly nominated by the party leadership.

Huang is facing an investigation into allegations he accepted bribes from construction companies in return for allowing city inspectors to go slow on violations of building codes and regulations. The case is only the latest in a string of corruption accusations against county- and city-level KMT officials and politicians in the run-up to the year-end elections.

The ruling party had come under fire for failing to take measures against Huang as the scandal broke, but it said it could not discipline him as he was not detained. As opinion polls showed support for the candidate dwindling to 18 percent against 56 percent for Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lin Yu-chang, top KMT members began asking for his replacement.

Hau and another KMT vice chairman, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu, called on the party leadership to take action against the Keelung politician.

Since the allegations against Huang came to light, several prominent former government officials and lawmakers have been mentioned as possible mayoral candidates, but most of them have said they were not interested.

The list included former National Immigration Agency chief Hsieh Li-kung, who now serves at the National Security Council, former presidential Vice Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang, former government spokesmen Philip Yang and Su Jun-pin and lawmaker Hsieh Kuo-liang,

Keelung has been described as a KMT stronghold, and party officials recently said it was unthinkable the ruling party should lose control over the harbor city at the November election.

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