Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Party heavyweights help in Kaohsiung

GIVING A HAND Ma Ying-jeou and Yu Shyi-kun supported their respective party candidates in what is becoming an increasingly tight mayoral contest

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, center, KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Jun-ying, left, and Huang's wife Liao Mei-chin raise their hands and cheer at the opening of Huang's campaign headquarters in Kaohsiung yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

The chairmen of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday both traveled to Kaohsiung to campaign for their party candidates in the city's mayoral election.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) denied a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News that the support rate for DPP candidate Chen Chu (陳菊) was catching up with KMT candidate Huang Jun-ying (黃俊英).

"We care about the situation in the Kaohsiung mayoral election very much and currently it's a close battle," Ma said in Kaohsiung before attending the launch ceremony of Huang's campaign headquarters.

According to the newspaper, a secret poll conducted by the KMT showed that support for Huang has been declining, and that he currently leads Chen by less than 5 percent.

KMT Spokesman Huang Yu-cheng (黃玉振) insisted that the party's candidate was still in the lead.

"But we are indeed facing a tough battle, and we are taking the situation seriously," he said at KMT headquarters.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, on the other hand, said that Chen's support rate was increasing, expressed his gratitude for the improvement and urged pan-green supporters to help Chen win the election.

"Right now the discrepancy is only about 3 to 4 percent. We will win the election with some extra effort," he said while campaigning for Chen yesterday and lashing out at Ma for his poor performance as Taipei mayor.

Chen also inaugurated her campaign headquarters yesterday. DPP heavyweights, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), all appeared on stage to lend support to Chen's candidacy.

Meanwhile, in Taipei, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Taipei mayoral candidate Clara Chou (周玉蔻) burst into tears when talking about recent pressure from some party members dissatisfied with her attacks on Hsieh.

"I have faced enormous pressure ever since I declared my intention to run. My competitors and those who want me to withdraw from the election have tried every way to force me out," she said at the launch of her campaign headquarters.

While declining to confirm whether TSU members had tried to dissuade her from running, Chou thanked former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for supporting her. Chao stressed that she will not withdraw from the race.

Attending the ceremony, TSU Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) denied the party was against Chou's candidacy, but added that candidates should not exercise smear campaigns against other contenders.

"The party hopes Chou will focus her campaign on presenting municipal policies," he said.

Chou has attacked Hsieh, accusing him of trying to dissuade her from joining the race for mayor by offering her conditions and condemning his alleged involvement in the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp scandal.

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