Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT pulls out the big guns as elections draw near

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

With merely two weeks left before the Dec. 3 local government elections, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) began to rev up its campaign machine with KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to join rallies nationwide to boost the prestige of the party's candidates.

In addition to the three KMT big guns, the party is inviting People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to join an election-eve event in Taipei County, as part of its final effort to attract more votes from pan-blue camp supporters.

"We will end the islandwide campaign rallies in Taipei County the night before the elections. We are inviting Chairman Soong to join the big night, and hopefully we will drum up support for pan-blue candidates by having Lien, Soong, Wang and Ma on stage together," KMT Spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) said yesterday.

Ma, the party's most popular campaign figure, headed to Tai-chung City on Friday afternoon right after finishing a nine-day general question sessions at Taipei City council as the city's mayor.

During an early celebration of the party's anniversary in Pingtung County last night, he appeared with Wang on stage to introduce all 54 of the party's city, county and township candidates, and urged supporters to "win back Taiwan" by voting for pan-blue candidates so that the "blue sky will reappear" in the country.

The Democratic Progressive Party, meanwhile, was holding a campaign party in Pingtung City.

Ma will begin a final five-day campaign tour of the nation, including Penghu, beginning on Friday. In addition, Lien began campaigning yesterday, for the first time since he stepped down as chairman.

"Campaigning for party candidates is a duty as well as an obligation of party members," Lien said.

He toured Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties to support local candidates.

The two men will come together again for the party's 119th anniversary party on Thursday in Taipei.

Meanwhile, to confront the pro-reform marches by the DPP on Sunday, the KMT changed the date of its "Anti-Corruption and Save Taiwan" rally from Saturday to Sunday, and called on all pan-blue supporters and those who are disappointed in the DPP government to speak out at the protest.

During a recent interview, Ma said his party had a big lead in seven of the eight cities and counties governed by the KMT, and had a good chance of wresting control of Chiayi City, and Ilan and Taipei counties away, from the DPP.

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