Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Heavyweights stump for Hsieh

LAST-DITCH EFFORT The KMT and PFP chairmen led separate tours around the county as independent Wu Kuo-tung advised people against tactical voting

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER IN HUALIEN

KMT Chairman Lien Chan, left, yesterday campaigns with KMT-PFP alliance candidate Wu Kuo-tung at a rally in Hualien.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

As the final day of campaigning came to a close, heavyweights from both the KMT and the PFP yesterday made an all-out effort for their joint candidate Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山), crisscrossing Hualien County in search of undecided voters.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) led separate groups canvassing in crucial electoral battlegrounds for last-minute votes for Hsieh, before ending the day with a massive rally.

At the rally, horns and cheers filled the air as the big guns from the pan-blue camp took their turns on stage to praise Hsieh.

KMT Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), a heavyweight in the Hakka community, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and dozens of pan-blue legislators, including independent lawmaker Sisy Chen (陳文茜), expressed support for Hsieh last night.

Sisy Chen called President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) a liar and then suggested Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) should be jailed for violating human rights because he ordered 24-hour checkpoints on the county's major roads in the run-up to the election to prevent vote-buying.

In a bid to illustrate the pan-blue camp's solidarity, New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) also made an appearance at Hsieh's rally.

Both Lien and Soong called on Hualien pan-blue supporters to consolidate their votes for Hsieh in today's election.

"Don't waste a single vote; save your votes for Hsieh to guarantee good times ahead," Lien said.

The Hsieh camp, worried that many pan-blue supporters would vote for former KMT county commissioner Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟), has been calling on the electorate to employ tactical voting to avoid a victory for the DPP candidate.

Hsieh ran a letter on the front page of major Chinese-language newspapers yesterday echoing Lien's appeal for people not to waste their votes.

The letter, addressed to Wu and pan-blue supporters, said, "Given various poll results, Wu's chances of electoral victory are small. One vote for Wu means one step toward helping the pan-green camp."

"While the election is itself just a momentary event, [Wu and all pan-blue supporters] will, on the other hand, forever be my brothers no matter what the electoral outcome is," the letter said, adding that the letter was written not out of pride but out of brotherly sincerity.

Wu yesterday expressed confidence in his commissioner bid, saying that the Hsieh camp's appeal to "dump Wu and save Hsieh" would fail.

"The Hsieh camp wishes to score electoral victory by having people transfer their votes from me to Hsieh," Wu said. "The very fact that the Hsieh camp has resorted to the `dump-save effect' highlights its lack of confidence in its candidate."

Although he lacks support from the nation's political stars, Wu showed a 10?minute video clip of late KMT commissioner Chang Fu-hsing (張福興) at his campaign rally last night.

"I am the only one who can truly represent the voice of Hualien's people," he said after a day of leading a fleet of trucks around the county.

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