Thu, Oct 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Specter of pan-blue split worries Hau

TAIPEI RACE The KMT's candidate urged pan-blue camp supporters to stick with him, while a 'United Daily News' poll showed a 16 percent drop in support for him

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) candidate for Taipei mayor, Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), yesterday acknowledged that the emergence of two other pan-blue candidates has made things difficult for him and urged pan-blue voters to remain united.

According to an opinion poll conducted on Tuesday by the Chinese-language United Daily News, support for Hau has dropped from 50 percent last month to 34 percent, while 14 percent of respondents said they supported his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Nine percent of respondents said they would support People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), while 5 percent said they backed independent candidate Li Ao (李敖).

Soong and Li's entrance into the Taipei race has raised concern that KMT's pan-blue support base could be split.

The poll interviewed 820 Taipei residents and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Hau called on his supporters to stay loyal to prevent Hsieh from profiting from a pan-blue split.

"My main opponent is still Frank Hsieh, and I will not allow him to take advantage of a pan-blue split," Hau told a press conference at his campaign headquarters.

Hau attacked Hsieh's integrity, raising questions about the former Kaohsiung mayor's involvement in the Kaohsiung MRT corruption scandal.

"The prosecutors listed Hsieh as a defendant in the scandal a few months ago. If he is elected, do we want a mayor who is prosecuted?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Hau came under attack from Hsieh again, who accused the KMT candidate of enjoying privileges and urged him to withdraw from the election.

Hsieh released four telephone numbers that he claimed belonged to Hau's father, former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), saying that his rival had taken advantage of the free phone service his father was entitled to use.

"We found out that Hau Lung-bin is using these phones and is therefore involved in corruption," Hsieh said.

He also said that opinion poll results should be considered a reference point, rather than a statement of fact.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the KMT chairman, yesterday reiterated his concerns over a pan-blue split, and said the KMT would continue "until the last minute" to negotiate with the PFP in the hope of promoting just one pan-blue candidate.

"Taipei is too important for the pan-blue camp," Ma said.

Soong is expected to register his candidacy with the Taipei Municipal Election Committee today, the final day for registration.

Ma, who visited Kaohsiung last weekend to campaign for the KMT's Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英), plans to stay home this weekend to stump for Hau.

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