Sun, Jan 10, 2010 - Page 1 News List

DPP wins all three seats in by-elections

CLEAN SWEEP The opposition party now has enough legislative seats to pass the threshold for impeaching the president, although it said it would not do so

By Loa Iok-sin, Jenny W. Hsu and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Lai Kun-cheng of the Democratic Progressive Party, center, celebrates with supporters after his victory in yesterday’s legislative by-election in Taitung County.

PHOTO: HUANG CHIH-YUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) scored a landmark election success yesterday, sweeping all three seats in legislative by-­elections in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties.

The victory in Taitung marked the first time the party won a legislative seat in the county.

Although the Central Election Commission (CEC) did not announce the official results until 6:30pm, all three DPP candidates declared victory before 6pm, while their rivals all conceded defeat.

Speaking after declaring victory, DPP Taitung County ­legislator-elect Lai Kun-cheng (賴坤成) told supporters gathered outside his campaign headquarters: “This moment is a moment everyone has waited for decades [to come]. This moment that so many people have expected for so long, has finally come.”

With 23,190 votes, Lai defeated his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rival, Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞), by just 1,975 votes, election results released by the CEC showed.

He said the DPP’s first victory in a legislative election in Taitung County meant more than just one additional seat in the legislature for the party. Rather, it set a precedent in Taitung’s political history.

“I would like to give my most sincere thanks to the people of Taitung. We would not have made such an accomplishment without you,” Lai said. “I will not forget my promises to you and will work hard in the Legislative Yuan to make Taitung a better place.”

Following Lai’s victory declaration, Kuang also appeared briefly at her campaign headquarters.

Kuang thanked those who had voted for her and her campaign team, but did not answer ­questions from reporters on whether she had expected the result, or whether she thought President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, did not offer enough help in her campaign.

The DPP’s legislator-elect in Taoyuan, Kuo Jung-chung (郭榮宗), said it was “a responsibility as well as an honor for voters to entrust me with defending [the national interests of] Taiwan, and [the welfare of] the people at the legislature.”

He also thanked former DPP legislator Peng Tien-fu (彭添富), who withdrew from the by-­election at the last minute to throw his support behind Kuo.

Kuo also expressed surprise at winning Yangmei Township (楊梅), a traditional KMT stronghold.

“This means a lot to me, and I will not disappoint the voters in Yangmei,” he said.

Kuo received 53,633 votes, defeating his KMT rival, Chen Li-ling (陳麗玲), by more than 16,000 votes, CEC figures showed.

The DPP Taichung County ­legislator-elect Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) said the DPP’s “home-run” victory should send a clear ­message to Ma and to the KMT.

He obtained 63,335 votes, while his KMT rival, Yu Wen-chin (余文欽), garnered 51,776 votes, the CEC said.

“The voters are trying to tell the government that the people are suffering,” he said, adding that he would push for a legislative resolution to ask Ma to deliver a “state of the nation” address to tell the people what policy objectives he has in mind to deal with high ­unemployment, the ­deteriorating economy, rising consumer prices and to explain to the public the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that the ­government plans to sign with China.

Voter turnout was below 50 percent in all three districts, the CEC said in a press release, with only 38.42 percent turnout in Taoyuan, 45.09 in Taichung and 39.44 in Taitung.

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