Fri, Jun 06, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Top KMT official avoids Hualien County election

STAFF WRITER

The son of senior KMT official Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) yesterday denied rumors that his father would run against his own party as the pan-green candidate for Hua-lien County commissioner.

The denial came one day after Liu Chao-a (劉詔娥), the widow of the late commissioner Chang Fu-hsing's (張福興), said she wanted the KMT's nod to run for the job.

Liu told supporters at a dinner on Wednesday that she had met with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in Taipei and told him she would seek the party's nomination.

Chang died last month of lung cancer.

Hsieh's son Hsieh Cheng-ta (謝政達) was quoted yesterday by the Central News Agency as saying that his father has no intention of trying for the job.

The younger Hsieh said that even if the pan-green camp wanted to nominate his father, that did not mean his father would accept it.

"It needs bilateral agreement to make a deal. My father will not run. The media's speculation is unthinkable," he said.

A Chinese-language newspaper yesterday reported that the elder Hsieh, a former member of the KMT Central Standing Committee and former chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs, was the pan-green camp's top choice.

The paper based its report on the senior Hsieh's long-time friendship with former KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). Hsieh is also reportedly on good terms with TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文).

Hualien has been a traditional stronghold of the KMT. The paper said this supports the speculation that the pan-green camp might seek a candidate who has KMT links or background.

Statistics show the pan-blue camp's support in Hualien commissioner elections has held steadily at over 60 percent over the past decades.

According to media reports, Lien and PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) agreement to team up for next year's presidential election will boost the pan-blue camp's chance in the commissioner election.

Many Hualien politicians have shown interest in trying for the KMT nomination.

A reference list presented by the KMT's Hualien County chapter reportedly said that as many as 12 grassroots leaders have expressed an intention of running for the post on the KMT ticket.

Some of these potential contenders have reportedly threatened to defect to the pan-green camp if they don't get the KMT nomination.

The by-election to fill the post left vacant by Chang's death will be held on Aug. 2.

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