Sat, Jan 09, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Ruling, opposition parties go all out for by-elections

By Mo Yan-chih and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, right, and Kuo Jung-tsung, the party’s candidate in the Taoyuan legislative by-election, burn ghost money at Baozhang Temple in Taoyuan County yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials yesterday made last-ditch efforts to solicit support for their candidates in the lead-up to today’s legislative by-elections.

Three by-elections will be held in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung. Winning any of the three by-­elections will be a breakthrough for the DPP, which hopes to grab more seats in the KMT-dominated Legislative Yuan.

The by-elections in Taoyuan and Taichung counties are being held following the invalidation of the election of the KMT’s Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) and Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) after they were convicted of vote-buying. The Taitung by-­election is being held to fill the seat left vacant by former KMT Legislator Justin Huang (黃健庭), who resigned in October to run in last month’s Taitung County commissioner election, which he won.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday traveled to Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties to campaign for KMT candidates in his capacity as KMT chairman.

Ma did not attend any by-­election-related campaigning events before yesterday.

He brushed off ­allegations about his reluctance to campaign for former Taitung County commissioner Kuang Li-cheng (鄺麗貞) and walked the streets with her in the morning.

“My schedule has been really tight. I hope I can visit all three counties and campaign for party candidates in one day and dispel all the rumors,” Ma said yesterday in Taitung.

Kuang, who sparked controversy over her frequent foreign trips during typhoon seasons while she was commissioner, had agreed to withdraw from last month’s Taitung County commissioner election race.

She yesterday thanked Ma for his support and expressed confidence she would win today’s by-election.

Ma also campaigned for legislative candidates Yu Wen-chin (余文欽) of Taichung and Chen Li-ling (陳麗玲) of Taoyuan.

The DPP yesterday also pulled out all last-minute stops on election eve to ensure victory in today’s by-elections.

The DPP’s main strategy is to stress that the three seats up for grabs today were all made available after the former KMT winners were convicted of vote-buying.

Braving the cold, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) zigzagged across Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties in the last week to support party candidates.

Tsai appeared at a rally for Taichung County nominee Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) yesterday before heading north to Taoyuan where an ensemble of DPP heavyweights such as former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former premiers Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) were to stump for Kuo Jung-tsung (郭榮宗), a former DPP lawmaker.

DPP Secretary-General Su Chia-chuan (蘇嘉全) sat at the helm for the race in Taitung where Lai Kun-cheng (賴坤成) will face Kuan.

The DPP have 27 seats in the legislature. If it can take two additional seats, it will pass the crucial threshold of one-fourth of the 113-seat legislature.

In another development, DPP nominee Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) yesterday completed her registration to vie for the legislative seat for Hualien County in the legislative by-election scheduled to take place on Feb. 27. Also, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) yesterday announced the nomination of former KMT legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) as the party’s candidate to grab another legislative seat in Taoyuan County.

The KMT also completed the nomination process of party candidates in the Feb. 27 by-election in Hualien, Hsinchu, Taoyuan and Chiayi counties.

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