Sun, Nov 22, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Polls not measure of government: Wu

STUMPING The premier said voters would choose mayors and county heads based on their personal qualities, not on the Ma administration’s performance

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that the public should not draw a link between next month’s mayor and county commissioner elections and the public’s view of the performance of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his government.

The Dec. 5 vote will be the first major election to cover all parts of the country since Ma took office in May last year.

Eligible voters in 17 cities and counties will cast ballots to elect mayors and commissioners, city and county councilors, and city and township heads in the elections.

“What does the election of county councilors or township chiefs have to do with President Ma’s national policy?” Wu asked when approached by reporters in Nantou County yesterday.

Wu said that while in the US, the midterm election is seen as a vote of confidence for the sitting president as it is held in between presidential terms, in Taiwan, candidates are selected for their connections with local factions, their personal image and whether they have competence to serve the public, all of which have little to do with the nation’s leader.

Wu said the population of the areas in next month’s elections was about 9 million, while the five municipalities that select leaders next year have a population of more than 13 million. These are Taipei County, Taichung City and County, Tainan City and County and Kaohsiung City and County, which will be upgraded or merged into municipalities, and Taipei City.

Saying that the Ma administration faces a “pop quiz” and a “midterm exam” every day, including the A(H1N1) flu outbreak and flooding caused by Typhoon Morakot in August, Wu said the government would not shirk its responsibility to the public.

At a separate setting yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said Ma, who doubles as the KMT chairman, will spend the next two weeks visiting cities and counties and stumping for candidates ahead of the elections. The KMT will also arrange for the premier and the vice premier to attend more campaigning events, Lee said.

Ma yesterday led party officials in campaigning for KMT candidates in Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County and Miaoli.

The party held its Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting in Hsinchu yesterday to drum up support for Hsinchu County commissioner candidate Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳).

Ma called for party unity and urged members to remain loyal to the party after Hsinchu County Commissioner Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金) voiced support for Chang Pi-chin (張碧琴), who left the KMT to run as an independent.

“It is meaningful that we chose the Hsinchu Yimin Temple to hold the CSC today. I urge KMT members to follow the example of the god Yimin and be loyal to the party,” Ma said yesterday.

The god Yimin, who is known for being righteous, is popular among Hakka.

Ma later accompanied Chiu on a visit to local supporters and promised to visit Hsinchu again ahead of the election.

Ma visited Taoyuan in the evening to attend the party’s 115th anniversary celebration, with party heavyweights gathering to campaign for Chiu, Taoyuan County commissioner candidate John Wu (吳志揚), Hsinchu mayoral candidate Hsu Ming-tsai (?]), and Miaoli County commissioner candidate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻).

Former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) joined Ma, Wu Den-yih, legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Vice Premier Eric Chu (朱立倫) to show support for his son John Wu (吳志揚) in his hometown.

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