Sun, Jan 05, 2003 - Page 2 News List

KMT takes wardenship elections

HOLLOW VICTORY?As expected, the KMT won almost half of the vote, but only 37.73 percent of the electorate bothered to turn up to participate in the new warden ballot

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the firecrackers crackling on the streets of Taipei, the borough-warden election of Taipei City -- which had been delayed for more than six months -- was finally over yesterday, producing 449 new wardens from 1,378 candidates to serve the city's residents.

A total of 1,926,401 residents of the city were entitled to vote, but only 37.73 percent of this number voted in yesterday's election, down from 39.1 percent four years ago.

As expected, the KMT dominated the election by getting 45.17 percent of the vote -- giving them 264 of the 449 positions. But the results failed to fulfill KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) ambition to get 80 percent of the party's 441 nominees elected.

Accompanied by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Chan yesterday expressed his wish to get 80 percent of the KMT's candidates elected when he voted for his favorite KMT borough warden, Ho Hsin-lung (何信隆), who failed to get elected.

Independent candidates received the second-biggest number of votes -- 44.67 percent, producing 142 wardens. The ruling DPP, meanwhile, did poorly in yesterday's grassroots election, receiving only 8.53 percent of the votes -- giving them 40 wardens.

The result of the PFP's second try in the local election was even less impressive, receiving 1.3 percent of the votes, giving them two wardens. The New Party received 0.32 percent of the vote and won one wardenship in yesterday's election.

According to the statistics from the Taipei Election Commission, more than 90 percent of the newly elected wardens are male, some 50 percent elected were re-elected and more than 70 of them are between 40 years old and 59 years old.

Among the 449 boroughs, two defeated candidates at Chihnan (指南) and Hsinhsi (新喜) applied for recounts at the Taipei Local District after they lost their elections by a single vote each.

Prosecutors will make decisions on whether to hold a recount after evaluating the situations.

The Taipei City Council passed the Autonomous Regulation Governing the Taipei City Borough Organization on April 3 last year.

The legislation called for a postponement of the elections -- originally scheduled to be held on June 8 last year, when all other cities' borough-warden elections were held.

The postponement, however, sparked disputes between the city government and the central government after the Cabinet said that the city government's reason for postponing the polls was inappropriate.

After polls closed yesterday, Ma emphasized that "there is no problem concerning the legitimacy of the election, and the Ministry of the Interior will recognize the results of the election."

Most high-ranking officials of the Cabinet, the Presidential Office and the DPP headquarters -- including President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) -- did not vote in the election, probably because of the dispute over the elections between the central and city governments.

Chen went to Pingtung in southern Taiwan to attend an event in the scenic Kenting area. The Presidential Office said that Chen did not have time to make it to a polling station.

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