Tue, Nov 16, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui boosts TSU campaign

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former President Lee Teng-hui, left, speaks in support of pan-green camp legislative candidates Wang Sing-nan, Tang Pi-o, Chien Lin Hui-chun and Lai Ching-te, from second left to right, at a rally in Tainan Saturday.

PHOTO: HONG RUEI-CHIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Last weekend, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) demonstrated his popularity and charisma in central Taiwan as he campaigned for the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) legislative candidates in Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan. With Lee's strong backing, senior TSU officials expressed their confidence in the performance of the party's candidates in the Dec. 11 legislative elections.

Counting on the popularity of the pan-green camp in Yunlin, Chuayi and Tainan -- three counties in which President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won by a landslide in his re-election campaign in March -- the TSU believes that it can grab legislative seats that it was unable to obtain in the previous legislative elections due to Lee's campaigning. The TSU said that the pan-green camp was set to win a major victory in the looming elections.

TSU Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said that the TSU was worried that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) vigorous election campaign, which was launched by DPP heavyweights -- including the president -- last month, would marginalize the TSU's potential to win seats. But after Lee began stumping for TSU candidates and promoting the importance of legislative reform last weekend, this crisis has now passed, Lin said.

"[Former] president Lee plays a key role in mobilizing the supporters of the TSU and catalyzing a Taiwan-centric national identification," Lin said. "Our campaign greatly improved and gained stronger momentum because of Lee, and we predict that the TSU could win at least 25 seats and hope it is possible for the pan-green camp to gain the majority in the legislature."

Lee enjoys a great deal of popularity and respect in central and southern Taiwan, and many TSU supporters call him "the founding father of Taiwan." Despite the hot weather in central Taiwan, the campaign rallies that Lee attended attracted numerous voters who participated in and were preoccupied with Lee's speeches at the rallies.

Owing to Lee's influence and charisma, some TSU candidates in Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan who were suffering from a lack of publicity and were close to being removed from the ballot gradually went back on the safe list, Lin said.

Thus far, here is the overall campaign situation for the TSU:

Yunlin County

The TSU legislative candidate, incumbent councilwoman Yin Lin-in (尹伶瑛), has been known for her dedication to environmental issues in Yunlin County. Part of Yin's platform is to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency halt the construction of an incinerator in Linnei Township (林內鄉) of Yunlin County.

Yin is trying to highlight her integrity, drawing a contrast between her and her opponent, Chang Li-shan (張麗善), the sister of former Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味), who is now a fugitive wanted for corruption.

Although Yin is now in the leading group in recent polls, Yin said that she was worried that the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) vote-buying tactics will cause her to lose the election. But she says she will continue her campaign to the last minute, no matter what the poll numbers say.

Chiayi County and Chiayi City

Ho Chia-jung (何嘉榮), a former DPP Chiayi County commissioner, was nominated by the TSU in Chiayi County, although he failed in the previous legislative elections as a DPP candidate. Although Ho is on the election list according to recent polls, he is threatened by other pan-blue camp candidates, as Ho is not an incumbent legislator.

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