Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Wei Chia-hsien (魏嘉賢) yesterday won the Hualien City mayoral by-election, overthrowing the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) rule of the city.
Wei won the by-election against his DPP opponent, Chang Mei-hui (張美慧), by a comfortable margin, with 17,923 votes to 13,958.
Wei secured 54.17 percent of the vote against Chang’s 42.18 percent, with a voter turnout of 40.87 percent.
Photo: Wang Chun-chi, Taipei Times
Wei declared victory about 80 minutes after ballot counting began at 4pm, thanking supporters in an emotional speech.
“I will dedicate myself over the next two years and four months. I will prove myself to voters,” Wei said. “I will serve all residents with utmost sincerity to make Hualien a city of warmth, a city that residents can be proud of.”
KMT Secretary-General Mo Tien-hu (莫天虎) expressed gratitude to voters at a post-election news conference, saying the KMT’s victory was an indicator of the public’s feelings toward the DPP government.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) said the fact that Wei was able to win the election, despite the DPP’s “mudslinging and use of government resources” during the campaign, indicated that the public was dissatisfied with the DPP government.
“The DPP has to learn its lesson from the election’s result. Its control of the legislature and the central government does not allow it to abuse its power,” Chow said.
“If the DPP cannot refrain from ideological manipulation or the fanning of populist sentiment in hunting down the KMT, it will suffer more defeats in coming elections,” Chow said.
Chang congratulated Wei and encouraged him to continue late Hualien Mayor Tien Chih-hsuan’s (田智宣) unfinished work to improve residents’ well-being.
“Although I lost the election, I will serve the city in any capacity to continue Tien’s legacy,” Chang said.
Chang was the wife of Tien, who died of lung cancer on May 29. The by-election was held to fill the opening left by his death.
Tien won the Hualien mayoral election in 2014 with 62.15 percent of the vote.
DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said the party humbly accepted the defeat and congratulated Wei on his victory.
“Although the election’s result is disappointing, the DPP will not depart from its ideals of integrity and diligence, and it will continue to carry out reform in Hualien,” Wang said.
Yesterday’s by-election was the second local election since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office on May 20.
A by-election for mayor of Changhua County’s Tianwei Township (田尾) was held on July 23, which the incumbent KMT won.
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