Sun, Nov 25, 2018 - Page 1 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Lai offers to resign as DPP routed

END OF AN ERA:President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after early results, which showed the KMT winning in Kaohsiung after two decades of DPP rule

By Stacy Hsu, Sean Lin and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

President Tsai Ing-wen, center, steps down from the podium after announcing her resignation as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson as DPP Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu, left, and DPP Electoral Strategy Committee co-convener Chen Ming-wen look on at a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) offered his resignation and President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson after the party suffered a bruising defeat in yesterday’s nine-in-one local elections, as the results showed the nation’s political map shifting toward the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Later last night, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) also announced her resignation.

While official tallies from the Central Election Commission (CEC) were not available as of press time last night, some of the candidates had unilaterally declared victory or conceded defeat.

Among them were Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) of the DPP, who acknowledged losing to KMT Taichung mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), and KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who defeated his DPP rival, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), and ended the DPP’s 20-year governance of southern Taiwan’s largest city.

In the 2014 local elections, the DPP won 13 of the nation’s 22 cities and counties, against the KMT’s six.

Yesterday’s electoral results saw the KMT winning a majority of city, county and municipal governments, while the DPP held six.

Before yesterday, the DPP held four of the six special municipalities — Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung — but last night seemed to be left with only Taoyuan and Tainan.

KAOHSIUNG

Han yesterday became Kaohsiung’s first KMT mayor in 20 years.

He had held onto a slim lead of less than 1 percentage point since the vote count started at 4pm, but he started to pull ahead after 7pm.

At about 8:50pm, Chen Chi-mai conceded defeat to Han, thanking his supporters for their trust in him and apologizing for failing them.

“Wherever my next job takes me, I will forever be proud of the people of Kaohsiung and the city... I have just made a telephone call to Han and congratulated him on his victory,” Chen Chi-mai, who resigned as a lawmaker earlier this month to demonstrate his determination, said in his concession speech.

Chen Chi-mai said that despite his defeat, he hoped that Kaohsiung residents could put aside their political affiliation, unite and throw their joint support behind the new mayor.

Han delivered his victory speech in tears, saying his win went down in the nation’s democratic history, as he won with little resources and without criticizing his opponent.

“As Chen [Chi-mai] pointed out in his concession speech, the city must adhere to its highest value, which is love and tolerance. Let us join hands and fight for the city’s future regardless of whether we belong to the pan-green or pan-blue camp,” Han said.

Losing Kaohsiung is expected to deal a severe blow to the DPP, especially in the 2020 legislative and presidential elections, given that the city is the nation’s third-largest with 2.28 million voters.

In the 2014 local elections, the DPP’s then-candidate, Chen Chu (陳菊), crushed her KMT rival, former Kaohsiung county commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), by a landslide, receiving 993,300, or 68.08 percent of the vote.

Chen Chu had served one term as the commissioner of Kaohsiung county, which merged with then-Kaohsiung City and became a special municipality in 2010, before winning two re-elections as the city’s mayor in 2010 and 2014.

TAICHUNG

Voters who had gathered in front of Lin’s campaign headquarters in Situn District (西屯) to watch on a large screen the unofficial vote count conducted by media outlets began to disperse at 6:30pm, many of them leaving in silence.

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