Sun, Aug 03, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Pan-blue candidate wins Hualien vote

NO SURPRISES Hsieh Shen-shan kept the eastern county in the KMT's hands winning more votes than all the other candidates combined

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hsieh Shen-shan, center, the blue camp's candidate in the Hualien County commissioner by-election, accompanied by his wife and high-level party officials from the KMT and the PFP, yesterday expresses his appreciation to Hualien's voters after winning the commissioner seat.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Pan-blue candidate Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) won the Hualien County commissioner by-election yesterday after over a month's fierce campaigning.

Hsieh received 73,710 votes, 51.4 percent of the total cast. The DPP's You Ying-lung (游盈隆) gained 41,508 votes (28.9 percent), while the inpedendent Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟) had 26,205 votes (18.3 percent). The turnout rate was just over 55 percent.

The 64-year-old Hsieh, from Hualien's Shoufeng township, has previously served at the central government level in prominent positions such as secretary-general to the Executive Yuan and head of the Council of Labor Affairs as well as being a chief adviser to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). Nevertheless, despite his local background he was never close to grassroots politics in his native county.

Although he had ceased to be actively involved in politics for a number of years, with support from both KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), Hsieh won the KMT nomination for the commissioner race in late June. With the campaign resources of both parties to draw on, Hsieh was the favorite to win a seat that has been in KMT hands for over 50 years.

"Hsieh Shen-shan's victory is a positive result of the cooperation between the KMT and the PFP. This is the victory for all Hualien people, a victory for democratic development," said KMT Secretary General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正), at Hsieh's campaign headquarters yesterday.

PFP Deputy Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) said: "The KMT-PFP alliance has won the Hualien by-election, and we also hope with this alliance we can achieve a second transfer of power in March next year by winning the presidential election," Chin said.

Hsieh's chief opponent, You, was once the deputy secretary-general of the DPP and had already participated in three different elections in Hualien, twice running for the commissioner post and once for the legislature. Yesterday was his fourth consecutive defeat in Hualien.

In the 2001 election for county commissioner, You received some 47,000 votes and the DPP originally hoped You would see his share of the vote rise above 50,000.

But yesterday's results suggest that President Chen and the ruling DPP's performance has had a negative impact.

Nevertheless the relatively undeveloped isolated county cannot be taken as representative of Taiwan as a whole and its significance for the presidential election next March has been be overrated.

The election was called as a result of the May 18 death of former commissioner Chang Fu-hsing (張福興).

Last night, Hsieh vowed to realize all his campaign promises and invited his two opponents to join the county government as his consultants.

You thanked voters for their support and stressed that he had conducted a clean campaign.

In the campaign period the remote county was deluged with political heavyweights from Taipei.

Also See Stories:

Hualien Election: You vows to keep up the fight

Hualien Election: Cooperation credited with giving Hsieh win

Hualien Election: Some see vote as step backward for nation's democracy

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