Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Hualien County by-election race off to a good start

ALL-OUT CAMPAIGN Both the pan-blue camp and the DPP, as well as independent candidates, are expected to put in all their efforts to win the seat

CNA , HUALIEN

With the Hualien County commissioner by-election only three weeks away, hopefuls are stepping up campaign activities.

Former Hualien county commissioner Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟), who announced his candidacy in defiance of his party, opened a campaign headquarters yesterday.

Wu, a senior member of the KMT, said he hopes the pan-blue alliance will "listen to the grassroots voices" and throw support behind his electoral bid.

The pan-blue alliance has nominated former Cabinet secretary-general Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) to represent it in the Aug. 2 by-election to elect a successor to Chang Fu-hsiung (張福興), who died of lung cancer in May.

Hsieh is scheduled to open a campaign head office on Sunday. Both KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) are expected to stump for Hsieh that day.

Meanwhile, DPP candidate You Ying-lung (游盈隆) will open his campaign headquarters next Wednesday, when President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and other senior government officials will show up to stump for You.

You paid a visit to Lee ming-liang (李明亮), a former head of the Department of Health, who is widely respected in the Hualien constituency, to garner his support.

Lee, who teaches at Tzu Chi University, said he shares similar political ideas with You.

Nevertheless, Lee said that as he is not political and unfamiliar with campaign rhetoric, he is not likely to publicly stump for You. Instead, Lee promised to recommend You to his friends in Hualien.

Lee also encouraged You to stick to his guns and invite those who have shared values to work for Hualien constituents in case he wins the election.

Hualien is a KMT stronghold and the party has controlled the commissioner post there for the past five decades.

But political analysts have said Wu's maverick electoral bid might give the DPP a better chance.

Many people view the by-election as a prelude to the next year's presidential race and a litmus test of the pan-blue alliance's solidarity.

Both the pan-blue and the DPP camps are expected to wage all-out campaigns.

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