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President talks up candidates, tourism ahead of year-end elections
Central News Agency
2014-08-13 09:56 PM
Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) While media and public interest has centered on the races for mayors of Taiwan's five major municipalities, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Wednesday held a campaign to promote its candidates in six other cities and counties. The party invited the nominees for the districts in central, southern and eastern Taiwan -- home to some of the country's biggest tourist draws -- to a meeting of its Central Standing Committee to push a common campaign theme of "six-star tourism." In attendance were legislator and Nantou candidate Lin Ming-chen, legislator and Chiayi County candidate Wong Chung-chun, Chiayi City candidate Chen Yi-chen, incumbent Taitung Magistrate Justin Huang, Minister without Portfolio and Pingtung candidate Chien Tai-lang, and Hualien candidate Tsai Chi-ta. The six contenders and President Ma Ying-jeou, who chairs the KMT, dressed up in matching polo shirts and gave each other high-fives in an effort to build enthusiasm. "The common campaign platform theme for these cities and counties is tourism," Ma announced, calling the huge boost in visitors of the past years the biggest change in Taiwan since he took office in 2008. He listed national parks and scenic areas in the candidates' cities and counties, such as the celebrated landscapes of Alishan, Sun Moon Lake, Kenting and Taroko Gorge, saying capitalizing on those draws to boost local economies was "very much the correct thing" to do. Ma also hoisted campaign banners alongside the candidates and said he is confident that "each one of them" will win in the Nov. 29 elections. Meanwhile, Ma expressed regret that Cheng Yung-chin, a former magistrate of Hsinchu County and a KMT member, announced earlier in the day that he would join the race for the northern county, pitting him against the KMT's candidate, incumbent Magistrate Chiu Ching-chun. He said his party will do everything in its power "to coordinate" the situation to avoid splitting the vote. Cheng, a two-time Hsinchu magistrate, is currently an adviser to President Ma and chairman of Light Era Development Co., a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom. Cheng said Wednesday that he will quit his posts as a member of the KMT Central Advisory Committee, adviser to the president and the chair of the Light Era Development Co. to devote himself to campaign activities. (By Claudia Liu, Jackson Chang and Lilian Wu)
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