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Mon, Oct 29, 2001 - Page 3 News List

All politics is local in the southern port

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Candidates vying to represent Kaohsiung in the nation's legislature are banking on grass-roots support and their history of service to the public to win office.

"All politics is local," as the popular saying goes.

Nowhere is that more true than in Kaohsiung.

"My family tree is deeply rooted in the city," said KMT hopeful Chiang Yi-wen (江綺雯), who added that her 20 years of experience in the education system made her a qualified candidate.

Like Chiang, the KMT's Yao Kao-chiao (姚高橋), a former director-general of the National Police Administration, also boasts a long record of public service.

"Having headed the city's police department for five years, I have helped improve the city's security and many locals have thanked me for my efforts," Yao said.

But political watchers say Yao may face challenges and opposition, as much of Kaohsiung's sex industry is located in his constituency.

In addition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) Lo Chi-ming (羅志明), who still has strong ties to his KMT supporters, may give Yao a run for his money.

The KMT's Tseng Chang-fa (曾長發), a city councilor for 20 years, and Lin Hong-tsung (林宏宗), incumbent legislator, are also expected to rely on their local connections to garner support.

Compared to the KMT, the DPP has less trouble emphasizing its grass-roots appeal -- making elections in Kaohsiung an easy race for DPP candidates.

Take for example Chu Hsin-yu (朱星羽), who has served for two terms in the legislature. Chu usually lags in opinion polls before an election, but victory always favors him in the end.

"There are just some `strange' types of groups who will vote for him. That's good enough to get him elected though his poll figures are always low," a DPP official said.

And even though DPP contender Kuo Wen-cheng (郭玟成) has refused to talk to the media, he still enjoys support from voters.

Serving your constituency rather than basking in the public limelight is the most effective way to secure votes, the DPP official said.

One likely winner in Kaohsiung is up-and-coming DPP politician Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the son of Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), the deputy secretary-general to the president.

Political observers say Chen, who won 98,553 votes three years ago, might be able to help other DPP candidates get elected.

Liao Da-chi (廖達琪), a professor of political science at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, said Chen might be able to lend some of his support to help the TSU's Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴).

Liao estimates that roughly 40,000 votes are enough to get elected this year.

Newcomer and doctor Lin Chin-hsin (林進興), who will be running on a DPP ticket, faces a tough battle but believes his record of providing free medical services to the poor will help him win votes.

Of Kaohsiung's 36 candidates, the New Party's Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) and People First Party's Chiu Yi (邱毅) are the two that lack local connections.

"To the advantage of both, they are famous nationally," said Wang Chi-tsong (王啟聰), director of the PFP's Kaohsiung headquarters.

Wang said he hoped campaign rallies featuring Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will help drum up support for the PFP.

Soong garnered 300 million votes in the city during last year's presidential election.

The party's campaign message is that a vote for a PFP candidate is a vote for Soong.

The PFP's campaign slogan is "Giving Soong a hand again."

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