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Sat, Feb 24, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Meeting clears way for Hu to run in Taichung

MISUNDERSTANDING The KMT is to let Jason Hu contest the election for mayor of Taichung, after an initial period of confusion over his registration

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After an extraordinary committee meeting, the KMT's election commission in Taichung yesterday decided to accept KMT Deputy Secretary-General Jason Hu's (胡志強) application to run for Taichung City mayor, putting an end to a dispute over his candidacy.

On Thursday Hu had faced the possibility of being disqualified as a candidate in Taichung because Chuang Lung-chang (莊隆昌), a former member of the National Assembly, said he had completed procedures to register him as a candidate for the post of Taipei County Commissioner.

The dual registration nearly caused Hu's candidacy in Tai-chung to be declared invalid, even though he had stated his intention to withdraw his application in Taipei County.

On learning that he had been accepted as a candidate in Tai-chung, Hu said he was pleased.

"I am sorry for causing such unnecessary trouble. I thank the residents of both Taichung City and Taipei County for their warmest support. I will do my best here in Taichung," Hu said in Taichung.

He said that he had been determined to run for the mayor's job from the very beginning and that he hoped the dispute would not tarnish his image.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday endorsed Hu's candidacy on behalf of the party, but said Hu should be grateful to his supporters in both Taipei County and Taichung City.

Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉), a possible KMT candidate in the Taipei County Commissioner's race, had said previously that Lien prefer-red Hu participate in the Taipei County race rather than the one in Taichung.

A local media organization reported yesterday that Hu had met privately with Lien yesterday morning to seek his approval and understanding.

Refusing to confirm such a meeting took place, KMT spokeswoman Chen Feng-shin (陳鳳馨) said: "What caused the dispute is not important. What is important is that Hu has decided to run in Taichung and Lien has expressed his support."

Hu's inconsistency, however, is expected to have a negative impact on his campaign in Taichung.

"Whatever the impact will be, Hu has to shoulder the responsibility himself," said party secretary-general Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) yesterday morning.

Media reports yesterday speculated that the KMT and People First Party (PFP) had reached a deal to cooperate with each other by supporting a PFP candidate in Taichung. Hu's insistence on running in Taichung had, the speculation suggested, ruined the deal and led to his dual registration.

Chao Shou-po (趙守博), director of the KMT's organizational development committee yesterday flatly rejected such reports.

"In terms of bipartisan cooperation, the KMT has not reached out to the PFP for any type of contacts," Chao said.

After Hu's candidacy is finalized, he will compete in a primary with other candidates in Taichung City including legislators Huang Hsien-chou (黃顯洲), Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) and speaker of the Taichung City Council Chang-Lao Kuei-chuan (張廖貴專).

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