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Sun, Dec 02, 2001 - Page 22 News List

KMT's Hu fills vacuum left by bickering

OPPOSITION'S GAIN Five of the ruling party's incumbent city mayors and county commissioners lost to KMT challengers as the ruling party won only nine of a total of 23 positions

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Supporters of the DPP's Su Tseng-chang, the Taipei County commissioner, wave flags and cheer in front of his campaign headquarters after he won a second term yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The DPP suffered a blow in yesterday's county commissioner and city mayoral elections, with five of the party's incumbents losing to KMT challengers. The ruling party ended up with nine mayor and commissioner seats, down from its previous 12.

The KMT's Jason Hu (胡志強) was elected mayor of Taichung City, garnering over 200,000 votes, or about 50 percent of the total ballots.

Observers said Hu's election was attributable to internal disputes within the DPP. The independent candidate and incumbent Mayor Chang Wen-ying (張溫鷹.) dropped her DPP party membership after she failed to gain her party's nomination for the mayoral race.

Her participation in the campaign was viewed as having diverted votes from the DPP's nominee Michael Tsai (蔡明憲).

In Taoyuan County, the KMT's Chu Li-luan (朱立倫) beat a DPP incumbent to be elected county commissioner with about 55 percent of the votes in the county. The seat, once held by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), has been held by the DPP since 1997.

KMT candidate Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金) was elected Hsinchu County commissioner, beating the incumbent DPP commissioner Lin Kwang-hua (林光華), with about 53 percent of the vote. This was Cheng's third time running for commissioner. His election success was credited to support from the pan-blue alliance of the KMT, PFP and New Party.

Incumbent Hsinchu City Mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅) of the DPP lost to the KMT's Lin Cheng-tse (林政則) in that city's mayoral election. Lin was elected with 56 percent of the vote.

Observers cited Tsai's recent indictment for corruption and a controversial relationship with Taichung City New Party legislative candidate Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) for his defeat.

Liao Yung-lai (廖永來), incumbent DPP Taichung County commissioner lost to the KMT's Huang Chung-sheng (黃仲生). Huang garnered about 50 percent of the vote. During the campaign Liao was widely blamed for losing up to 1,000 jobs for the county through his opposition to environmental protection grounds to an investment project by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer Corp.

In Keelung City, DPP Mayor Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) lost his post to the speaker of the city's municipal council, Hsu Tsai-li (許財利) of the KMT, who gained a decisive victory with 58 percent of the vote.

Nantou County's incumbent commissioner Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯), who ran as an independent, lost his post to the DPP's Lin Tsung-nan (林宗男). Lin received 36 percent of the vote.

Seven candidates competed for the Nantou commissioner seat, with two candidates running from the KMT, one from the PFP, one from the DPP, and three independents. Since the 921 earthquake, Peng has come under repeated attack for suspected mishandling of billions of New Taiwan dollars in reconstruction funds.

Meanwhile, Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) won the New Party's first county commissioner seat in Kinmen County, garnering over 56 percent of the vote.

Lee, who represents Kinmen in the legislature, had unsuccessfully run twice before for the commissioner's seat. Lee edged out his main rival in the race DPP Legislator Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南).

The PFP won two seats in Taitung County and Lien Chiang County, more commonly known as Matsu. Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生) was elected Lien Chiang County commissioner, while Hsu Ching-yuan (徐慶元) was elected commissioner of Taitung County.

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