Wed, Mar 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

GIO head to join Taichung race

POWER BID Lin Chia-lung will likely face competition from other hopefuls in the pan-green camp, and then probably face KMT incumbent Jason Hu in the year-end election

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Government Information Office (GIO) head Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday resigned from his post and threw his hat into the ring for the year-end Taichung City mayoral race.

"I've chosen to run in Taichung City not only because my feelings for the city run deep, but also because I've seen how much Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) did for Kaohsiung City," Lin said, noting the need to boost Taichung City's public construction projects.

Although Lin handed his letter of resignation to the premier yesterday, Hsieh has yet to let Lin go, citing the need to think through possible candidates for the GIO position. Lin indicated that in the meantime, he would not be proposing any new policies.

While Lin's switch to local politics had been touted for some time, his resignation came as something of a surprise. His decision to run had not been expected until mid-March. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not start taking names for the primaries leading up to the mayoral race until March 28.

In a bid to secure the 2008 presidential election, the DPP has set its sights on the upcoming mayoral and county commissioner elections. Lin is not the only Cabinet official slated to run for a local elected office. Council of Hakka Affairs Chairman Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) is expected to run for Taipei County Commissioner, while Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) has been touted as a candidate for Kaohsiung City Mayor. Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) is also firming as a candidate for Taichung County Commissioner. Former Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) also announced plans to run for Ilan County commissioner in January.

Lin, who was born in Taipei City, yesterday responded to accusations that he was a carpetbagger, saying that "a great city should welcome new talent."

"Without burdens, one can push for change with resolution," Lin said, saying the crux of the election would be whether he could propose constructive policies.

Lin will have to defeat popular incumbent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) who has already indicated he intends to seek another term. Within the DPP, former Taichung City deputy mayor Chen Ta-chun (陳大鈞) has also expressed interest in the seat and TSU Legislator Mark Ho (何敏豪) has been touted as another possible candidate.

The premier yesterday supported Lin's resignation.

"He [Lin] told me that since he decided to run in the year-end city mayor election, he does not want to cause any unnecessary misunderstanding by hanging on to his position," Hsieh told the plenary legislative session yesterday morning.

Hsieh dismissed talk that Lin's resignation was made to offset his recent questionable move to visit an underground radio station.

"Although his visit was indeed debatable, I don't think it is serious enough for him to resign," Hsieh said. "However, I thought it was a responsible move for him to offer his resignation." Hsieh revealed that he hopes to find Lin's successor before March 15.

Lin also dismissed media speculation that the purpose of his trip to Japan is to arrange first lady Wu Shu-jen's (吳淑珍) planned visit there in May for Expo 2005, which will be held in Aichi Prefecture. Lin left for Japan yesterday afternoon.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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