Sun, Mar 29, 2009 - Page 1 News List

KMT retains Da-an with Chiang's win

NARROWER MARGIN Chiang Nai-shin captured 49 percent of the vote, down sharply from the KMT's 66 percent win in the legislative race for this seat last year

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chiang Nai-shin gives his wife a kiss to celebrate his win in yesterday’s legislative by-election in Taipei’s Da-an District.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) breathed a sigh of relief after its candidate, Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛), defeated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) in the legislative by-election for Taipei's Da-an District (大安) yesterday.

Chiang received 46,065 votes (49 percent) over Chou's 36,465 (39 percent), winning by less than 10,000 votes in a district that is traditionally a KMT stronghold.

In the legislative election last year, the KMT captured 66 percent of the vote for the seat to the DPP's 32 percent.

Independent candidate Yao Li-ming (姚立明), who has the backing of the New Party, failed to split the pan-blue vote and garnered only 9,868 ballots.

The Green Party's Calvin Wen (溫炳原) captured 1,058 votes. Independent candidates Liu Yih-jiun (劉義均), Chao Yan-ching (趙衍慶) and Chen Yuan-chi (陳源奇) received 645 votes, 46 votes and 39 votes respectively.

Voter turnout was a low 39.12 percent.

Chiang, 59, has been a Taipei City councilor for Da-an District since 1981. With dozens of supporters crowding Chiang's campaign headquarters, waving campaign flags and chanting “Chiang Nai-shin elected!” Chiang declared victory at about 5:30pm and thanked voters for their support.

“All disputes ended with the by-election. From this day on, I will work for the benefit of Da-an residents in the legislature and will never be a rubber stamp [for the government],” he said.

Accompanying Chiang at headquarters was KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), who expressed disappointment at the low voter turnout but promised to listen to the public's voice.

“Both the administration and the party should examine themselves thoroughly ... The governing party should listen to the public's voice with humility to be able to serve them better,” he said.

Wu ascribed the election result to the global economic crisis, saying it was expected for the public to blame the government for current conditions.

Wu said the KMT would take its defeat in the Miaoli legislative by-election earlier this month and narrower victory in the Da-an poll as a warning.

Meanwhile, Chou accepted his defeat and thanked his supporters.

“Although I lost the by-election, I received more votes than Chiang in three boroughs,” he said. “I am optimistic about the DPP's future as long as we work harder.”

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that the smaller margin showed that the political map could eventually be reshaped.

“It's encouraging to see the DPP receive such a level of support despite many disadvantages,” she said.

Chou said the decline in KMT support in the district reflected public dissatisfaction with the government's performance and urged the KMT not to ignore the results of the by-election.

Yao said that he respected the voters' decision.

The by-election was held in the wake of former KMT legislator Diane Lee's (李慶安) resignation in January over a dual-citizenship controversy. The Central Election Commission later revoked Lee's elected status as legislator and Taipei City councilor.

Lee showed up at her designated voting site to cast her vote yesterday, but declined to comment on the citizenship controversy.

“I served for 14 years in Da-an District and the residents here have been very supportive,” she said. “I believe their support won't be affected by some vicious attacks against me.”

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