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Fri, Jul 27, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Taichung mayor defies her party

GOING IT ALONE Ending months of speculation, Chang Wen-yin publicly announced her intention to run for office again despite her party's objections

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The mayor of Taichung, Chang Wen-ying, used her birthday celebration yesterday to announce her participation in the next Taichung mayoral election.

PHOTO: HU WEI-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taichung City Mayor Chang Wen-yin (張溫鷹), a member of the ruling DPP, yesterday publicly announced her determination to run for re-election, openly challenging her own party's mayoral candidate Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) and the KMT's Jason Hu (胡志強).

"I will do my best to achieve success in the re-election bid," she said yesterday, addressing city government officials at a party organized to celebrate her 51st birthday and endorse her campaign for re-election.

Chang said that the party had dumped her because her polling numbers were not good enough. However, she still wanted to be the mayor of Taichung and was determined to run in the election.

Apparently undaunted by Chang's move, both Tsai and Hu yesterday said that they fully respect her final decision.

"I welcome her participation and competition in the election. No matter how many candidates there are, I'll always take my best shot," Hu told reporters yesterday afternoon.

Tsai also gave his blessing to Chang, but played down the likely negative impact on his electoral chances.

"Though she failed to acknowledge the democratic result of the party's [April] primary elections, which ruled that I should represent the DPP in the mayoral race, I hope the coming election will be a positive campaign with one competing fairly with the other," Tsai said.

Tsai, however, expressed his regrets that Chang failed to respect party ethics, adding that her decision will not only hurt him, but it will also damage Hu's campaign.

Both Hu and Tsai, nevertheless, said they were confident of winning.

Since Chang lost her party candidacy to Tsai in April, she must now run as an independent. Her decision to do so will certainly cost her her DPP membership, party Secretary General Hsu Jen-tu (許仁圖) said yesterday.

DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), however, gave no comment yesterday, saying "we need to look into the matter first," while party secretary general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said that "it will not greatly impact the party."

There has been speculation that Chang's re-election chances were spiked as a result of infighting in the DPP. There is also concern over her possibly allying with the People First Party to expand her support, as the party's chairman, James Soong (宋楚瑜), has approached her in the past. Thus, Chang may not only steal votes from the DPP's Tsai, but also the KMT's Hu.

"There's no concrete evidence to support the media speculation, therefore, we should not mislead the voters," Hu said, brushing aside the notion that the PFP is contemplating throwing its support elsewhere.

Political analysts say that Chang may still maintain a competitive edge because of her strong local connections, which come from her husband Chen Wen-hsien (陳文憲) and her father-in-law Chen Duan-tang (陳端堂), who was a former Taichung mayor.

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