The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate for November’s election in to-be-formed Sinbei City yesterday rejected any suggestion that a recent pricing scandal in Taipei City had derailed plans for closer cooperation with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).
Eric Chu (朱立倫) said in a campaign stop he had “100 percent confidence” in Hau, adding that cooperation between the two cities would not be affected.
“Taipei City and Sinbei City must continue standing in unity and working together ... there’s no way that [we] can oppose each other or cut one another off,” he said.
The Taipei City Government has been under fire since reports emerged that it overpaid contractors by as much as 30 times for an overpass beautification project and the Taipei International Flora Expo, leaving senior KMT officials scrambling to contain the fallout with the elections less than three months away.
KMT sources told the Chinese-language Apple Daily there was serious concern among election strategists that the scandal could have far-reaching implications for not only Hau, but other party candidates — including Chu.
An Apple Daily poll yesterday showed that 54 percent of voters in the area that will become Sinbei City said Hau’s falling poll numbers would have an effect on the KMT’s election prospects in their municipality. A survey conducted by TVBS News last week showed that six out of 10 voters were dissatisfied with Hau’s handling of the scandal.
Fighting to keep the party unified at a gathering of major election campaign directors at KMT headquarters yesterday, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said the party would stick to its campaign strategy of promoting close cooperation between Hau and Chu.
“Taipei City and Sinbei City are interdependent and the majority of people agree with us that the two cities should cooperate in developing the areas as a whole,” he said.
Hau and Chu launched a joint campaign in July, promising to better connect and develop the two cities as “golden twin cities.”
The two proposed to proceed with urban renewal projects centering around the Tamsui River (淡水河) and jointly launch a bid to host both the World University Games and East Asian Games in 2017.
King said the KMT remained “cautiously optimistic” about Hau’s re-election bid and that the party had instructed party legislators to help with Hau’s campaign.
“The KMT is a big family and we will not give up on our family member,” he said.
KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏), who is in charge of campaign strategy in Taipei, said despite recent media attention on the controversial overpass project, Hau’s campaign was proceeding smoothly. Hau will register his candidacy with Taipei’s Election Commission this week and the preparation of his campaign headquarters, which is located next to the KMT headquarters, has been completed as well.
King said he would travel to Tainan today to accompany party candidate Kuo Tien-tsai (郭添財) to register his candidacy. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, will also travel to campaign for party candidates.
King also promised the party would not engage in smear campaigns against DPP candidates and would focus on examining the DPP candidates’ campaign platforms.
Chu took the stage with former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday to stump for a local KMT candidate. He said he would not waver from the KMT’s “golden twin cities” election strategy and that the worst-case scenario was that he would simply have to work twice as hard.
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