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Chu stays away from Ma-Lien-Hau appearance
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-12 03:20 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu stayed away from an event where President Ma Ying-jeou, Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin and Kuomintang Taipei City mayoral candidate Sean Lien appeared together Saturday, raising speculation about their relations.

Recent opinion polls showed Lien trailing his opposition challenger, Ko Wen-je, by 20 percent, forcing senior KMT members to promise to come out and campaign for him.

Ma, who has had troubled relations with both Lien and his father, former Vice President Lien Chan, in the past, did show up Saturday as expected, but Chu did not. The New Taipei City mayor is running for re-election but has also been touted as a top candidate to succeed Ma in 2016, just like Hau. Both men were also recently promoted to vice chairmen of the KMT.

Asked why he did not join Ma, Hau and Lien in Taipei City Saturday morning, Chu told reporters that his schedule was full with activities in his own city. Even all his three vice mayors had been mobilized to attend events across town, Chu said.

He said he wanted to concentrate on New Taipei City and improve its local employment and entertainment situations, turning it into a better place to live. While Ma and Hau could attend events in Taipei right now, Chu said he was certain there would come more opportunities for cooperation between Taipei and New Taipei later on.

He advised Lien to keep in close touch with grassroots voters in the capital and to present positive policies in order to attract more support. Once he did that, he would win the recognition of the public and could work toward closer cooperation with New Taipei City, Chu said.

At Saturday’s event for new migrants in Taiwan at the Taipei City Government building, Hau and Lien stood outside together to welcome Ma as he stepped out of his limousine, reports said.

Lien told reporters that the president had praised him for campaigning close to the public, including in the less well-off parts of town such as the Wanhua District. The candidate has suffered from his image of hailing from one of the country’s top political dynasties and of living in one of the capital’s most expensive apartment towers.

Lien rebutted comments by reporters suggesting that his interaction with Ma had not been natural or warm. Before the election race started, Lien had criticized the president on several occasions, lambasting his economic performance and his power struggle with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

Lien said his situation looked better every day and he would appear at another event with Ma on Sunday. He said he was not afraid the president’s negative influence would rub off on him, but welcomed help from everybody, even from the opposition. Since starting his second term in May 2012, Ma has been followed by dismal opinion poll ratings, with his approval dipping as low as 9 percent.

Nevertheless, more bad news for his campaign emerged Saturday when it became known that two neighborhood wardens who had been expelled from the KMT for inviting Ko to speak, were planning to continue to work on behalf of the opposition candidate.

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