Sun, Jul 18, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Pan-greens triumph in Kaohsiung

GREEN REVIVAL The pan-green camp now has a working majority on the Kaohsiung City Council after a poll that mostly rejected the bribe culture

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN KAOHSIUNG

Consolidating its hold of the country's south, the pan-green camp took control of the Kaohsiung City Council yesterday in a by-election that mostly turned its back on candidates with ties to a vote-buying scandal.

Of the 18 seats available in the 44-seat assembly, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured six and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) three. Added to the seats held by generally pro-DPP independents and the six seats already held by the DPP and the TSU, the pan-green camp is expected to enjoy a two- to six-seat majority on the council.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secured six seats, while the People First Party (PFP), which was involved in minor incidents of election-eve violence, failed to win any seats on the council.

Six of nine candidates with family ties to councilors forced off the council because of the scandal were unsuccessful in their bid, while all four candidates nominated by the DPP and the TSU in the group of nine failed to be elected.

The three successful candidates with those ties were the independents Tsai Wu-nan (蔡武男), Chen Li-na (陳麗娜) and Chu Ting-shan (朱挺珊).

Chu, the daughter of fugitive ex-speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) who was sentenced to 22 months' jail for bribery, topped the list of successful candidates in her district even though she herself is alleged to have been involved in vote-buying on election eve.

"I am so grateful for the connections my parents have given me," Chu said after hearing the result. "I am happy to take over from their achievements and I promise to extend the service of my family [to constituents] in the future."

There were 47 candidates running for the 18 seats. The DPP nominated 10 candidates, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) eight, the PFP and the TSU four, while another 21 candidates registered as independents.

The TSU performed well, with former TV anchor and news commentator Chen Ying-tsan (陳英燦), Kuo Chien-meng (郭建盟) and Lan Chien-chang (藍健菖) all prevailing in their electoral districts.

The only unsuccessful TSU candidate, Wang Yu-bin (王育彬), is the son of the former director of the Kaohsiung City Government bureau of civil affairs, Wang Wen-cheng (王文正), who was convicted in relation to the bribery scandal.

A DPP candidate, Ateng Ingay (俄鄧殷艾), grabbed the reserved Aboriginal seat.

Despite sunny weather conducive to a high turnout, Kaohsiung voters yesterday showed little zeal, with a record-low 32 percent turning up at voting stations.

After casting his ballot with his wife, Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said that he hoped this by-election would change the direction of the city council.

"In a normal country, the ruling party is in the majority and the opposition party, who plays a monitoring role, should be in the minority," Hsieh said. "I think this by-election presents us with a new beginning for Kaohsiung City's electoral culture. We will provide better infrastructure supported by a council with a solid majority."

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