Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral hopeful Yeh Chin-chuan (
"The reaction generated by the ad was contrary to my intention. I joined the race hoping to make the KMT primary more democratic, but instead attracted unnecessary suspicion. To maintain harmony in the party, I have decided to withdraw from the race," Yeh said yesterday at a press conference at his campaign headquarters.
Earlier this week Yeh's campaign team published an ad in major Chinese-language dailies questioning whether former Environmental Protection Administration chief Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was taking advantage of the fame of his father, former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村). It also called the younger Hau a "political chameleon" because he had worked for the Democratic Progressive Party government.
The ad sparked criticism from several party members, including Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), and prompted the KMT to issue Yeh a written reprimand yesterday.
"[The ad] goes against the spirit of the primary. We demand all primary candidates follow the rules and refrain from attacking party members or damaging the party's image with a negative campaign," KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuan-bo (
Yeh denied adopting a negative campaign tactic with the ad, saying that it targeted Hau's problems in the public domain.
He added that a recent series of negative events, rather than the party's reprimand, had prompted him to withdraw.
"Especially Ms. Ma Yi-nan [
Ma Yi-nan, KMT Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (
Ma Yi-nan reportedly asked party members to support Yeh because his native Taiwanese ethnicity would attract more votes for Ma Ying-jeou in the 2008 presidential election.
Sitting next to Yeh during the press conference, Ma Yi-nan yesterday denied campaigning for Yeh in the name of her brother and blamed herself for "causing Yeh to withdraw from the race."
"I represent myself, and I support Yeh as an individual, not as Mayor Ma's family member ... people who accuse me of taking advantage of being Ma Ying-jeou's sister are very mean," she said.
Yeh, a former Taipei deputy mayor who was perceived as Ma Ying-jeou's "chosen" successor, has been accused of taking advantage of the city government's resources in seeking the mayor's post.
KMT legislators Alex Tsai (
In response to Yeh's sudden withdrawal, rivals Hau Lung-bin and KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chong (
"Elections are momentary, but friendships last forever," Hau said yesterday.