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Thu, Oct 21, 1999 - Page 3 News List

DPP politicians descend on Yunlin

POLITICAL POSITIONING A recent poll shows that the DPP's candidate is in the lead for the county commissioner's seat -- but a spokesman also says that the half of those polled who did not respond may be waiting to be offered money for their votes

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP heavyweights assembled in Yunlin County yesterday in a show of strength -- part of an intensifying campaign for the upcoming county commissioner by-election -- while maintaining that its candidate, Lin Chung-li (林中禮), is leading his rivals in opinion polls.

Most importantly, they say, Lin's popularity in the post-earthquake climate has outpaced independent candidate Chang Jung-wei (張榮味), believed to control many of the county's local factions and previously tipped to win the seat.

According to the latest opinion poll conducted by Global TV and the Journalist magazine, the DPP's Lin leads with about 19 percent support, while KMT candidate Chang Cheng-hsiung (張正雄) is running second with 9.8 percent -- leaving independent Chang Jung-wei behind with 6.7 percent.

DPP leaders said yesterday that this and other recent polls held after the 921 quake reveal that the DPP has an excellent opportunity to win local administrative power in a place they have never won before.

"The quake damaged public construction, and residents are blaming it on the KMT," said one official.

"The independent, Chang, apparently lost key support in mountainous townships such as Touliu (斗六) and Kuken (古坑), because several projects built by his construction company collapsed," said Jimmy Kuo (郭俊銘), director of the DPP's organization and development department.

Kuo said he believed some of Chang's supporters have shifted to the DPP's Lin in those townships. But, he said, the DPP still regards Chang as the party's main rival.

"We have only increased our support among constituents who did not necessarily vote along party lines in the past. And Chang's support organizations have not disappeared," he said.

Kuo was part of a group of party officials who had begun working in Yunlin even before the Sept. 21 earthquake, campaigning against so-called "black gold" politics -- the abuse of power by corrupt officials -- and for a "shift in power to rescue Yunlin."

Central party leaders also arrived in Yunlin County yesterday to campaign for Lin. They began by holding their weekly Central Standing Committee meeting in Touliu and a mass campaign rally in Peikang (北港).

Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) said Yunlin has now become the "homeland of the mafia" and accused representatives in the current local government of involvement in "black gold."

"We attribute this to the KMT because it has stayed in power too long to cut the connections between local factions and gangsters," Lin said.

"Therefore, the Yunlin County by-election can be an historical symbol of Taiwan's democratic development if residents can elect an opposition commissioner," he said.

Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the DPP's presidential candidate, also appealed to Yunlin residents to turn away from what he called the "dark clouds" (Yunlin means "cloud and forest" in Chinese) and turn to a "sunny sky."

"Residents in Yunlin should not be cheated again. Lin Chung-li is the only opportunity to lead Yunlin County toward the 21st century," he said.

As to the strategy of the DPP's campaign in the coming two weeks before the Nov. 6 vote, Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the DPP's current legislative caucus leader, who was born in Yunlin, said the DPP still had to get the word out about Lin's achievements during his official career, as well as his platform of "terminating black gold."

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