Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-26 05:05 PM
Hu is fighting an uphill battle to be re-elected mayor of the central Taiwanese city on November 29. Both Hu and Hau were recently appointed vice chairmen of the ruling Kuomintang, while the Taipei City mayor is widely expected to be preparing a bid for the party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential election.
Visiting Taichung Saturday for the inauguration of the local Bus Rapid Transit system, Ma reportedly said that Hau hadn’t done a bad job, but that he still lagged somewhat behind Hu. He was reportedly talking about the cities’ financial situation, with Hau reducing debt after Ma had allowed it to rise slightly during his two terms as mayor from 1998 to 2006.
The president, who also chairs the KMT, said that Hu had done very well, even winning a certificate of livable city for Taichung from the United Nations, a feat he had never been able to achieve during his eight years as mayor of Taipei City.
In a reaction to what might have been perceived as a slight to Hau, the Taipei City Government said competition between cities was a way of moving the whole country forward. A city spokesman said he was convinced that Hu would continue to improve living standards in Taichung and praised him for making progress in domains like transportation, culture and economic development.
Hu’s challenger in the mayoral election, Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lin Chia-lung, said the new bus system would not be able to save the mayor since it amounted to a huge trick.
Hu, a former Cabinet spokesman and foreign minister, has been trailing Lin in most opinion polls, with surveys indicating residents of Taichung want change after 13 years of Hu in charge.
Lin said that Ma was responsible for axing plans for a subway line and replacing it with the new poorly thought out BRT line. Special bus lanes had not been designed for the full length of the bus rides, there were no traffic lights which could be changed as the buses approached, and the control center had not been completed yet, Lin said.
The opposition candidate accused Ma and Hu of playing a political show with the public transport project.
He also attacked the Taichung City Government for using footage from Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit in its commercials for the BRT.