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Mon, Oct 29, 2001 - Page 3 News List

The battle for Kaohsiung

Observers say that when Kaohsiung residents go to the polls on Dec. 1, most will focus on style rather than substance. A close examination of this year's race, however, shows several other factors could also have a hand in the outcome

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Among opposition candidates, the PFP's Chiu Yi (邱毅) enjoys high popularity and is believed to stand a good chance of getting elected in the southern district. But the party's three other candidates in the northern district face an uphill battle.

"The party is highly vulnerable to Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) stealing [the party's] votes," said Wang Chi-tsong (王啟聰), director of the PFP's local headquarters. Wang blames Hsieh for destroying inter-party cooperation efforts in Kaohsiung.

Wang, nevertheless, added that the party still aims to gain more votes and secure supporters for the long term.

First timers

As for the newly-formed Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), it, like the PFP, faces its first election after since its founding.

"Our success lies in whether [former president] Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) efforts translate into votes," director of the TSU's Kaohsiung headquarters Stoney Huang (黃昭展) said.

Going solo

Half of the city's legislative candidates are running independently. It may be too early to predict their election prospects, but observers say that they certainly pose threats to other party candidates.

Liao said that, in the southern district, former legislator Ju Gao-jeng (朱高正) has been very good at making news and grabbing attention, while Lin Kuan-hei (林崑海), the owner of Sanlih TV (三立電視), has the most campaign resources.

In the northern district, both Wang Tein-ging (王天競), an incumbent legislator, and Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬), a former member of the Control Yuan, may are expected to appeal to their former supporters.

"We may be surprised to see some dark horses being elected from the independent candidates' poll," Liao added.

This year's contest promises to be the toughest. Thirty-six candidates are vying for 11 seats; the city's 1 million eligible voters -- divided into southern and northern constituencies -- will elect five and six legislators, respectively.

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