Sun, Jan 27, 2013 - Page 1 News List

KMT wins Taichung by-election

CLOSE RACE:The DPP’s Chen Shi-kai lost the by-election in Greater Taichung’s second district to KMT candidate Yen Kuan-hen by a margin of only 1,138 votes

By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

 The 36-year-old said the DPP “had worked extremely hard in the shortest campaign in history against the massive resources the KMT and the Yen family hold” and would keep up his effort in working for people in Greater Taichung.

 The DPP campaign had a roller-coaster experience during yesterday’s vote-counting process.

 Chen had taken a lead of about 500 votes less than 20 minutes into the ballot counting, which began at 4pm, and the margin increased to about 1,000 while supporters at the campaign headquarters looked upbeat about the outcome.

 As television broadcasts showed that Yen Kuan-hen’s campaign surprisingly claimed victory at about 5:30pm and the vote count suddenly shifted in Yen Kuan-hen’s favor, the joyful mood turned into silence, with supporters staring at the TV monitor in disbelief.

 The vote tally showed that Chen lost in the Yen family’s stronghold of Shalu by more than 3,000 votes and in Longjing by 1,500 votes, and those margins were too large to overcome.

 The DPP had campaigned extremely hard in the relatively short 40-day campaign, with almost every party heavyweight visiting Greater Taichung every week to campaign for Chen and calling for voters to use the election as a vote of no confidence against Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman.

 The strategy appeared to have worked wonders as the DPP turned the election into a close race, after its legislative candidate Lee Shun-liang (李順涼) lost to Yen Ching-piao by almost 39,000 votes, or about 20 percent of the total votes, in the same constituency in January last year.

 “The DPP may have lost the election, but nevertheless proved that it was able to hold its own and compete with the KMT neck-and-neck in central Taiwan,” DPP Tainan City Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.

 DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) admitted that the low turnout rate was worse than expected and the party had to figure out why voters did not come out to support the DPP, despite not being happy with Ma and the KMT’s performance.

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