Sun, Oct 11, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Fifty-four hopefuls register for elections

SPLIT IN THE VOTE The KMT vote is split in a number of counties and cities where hopefuls refused to toe the party line after being told not to register in the elections

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A total of 54 hopefuls registered on Friday, the last day of candidacy registration, to run for 17 seats in the year-end mayoral and county commissioner elections, information from the Central Election Commission showed.

Except for Taoyuan County, where the Hakka party nominated one candidate, the race will be among the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independents.

In Kinmen County, which has a population of about 85,000, seven candidates will vie for the county commissioner seat, which is the highest number of hopefuls registered to compete for one seat.

The hopefuls in the Kinmen race include independent candidate Wu Cheng-tien (吳成典), a former KMT legislator, and the KMT’s nominee Lee Wo-shi (李沃士).

In Taitung County, with incumbent County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞) agreeing to withdraw from the race at the last minute, the KMT has been able to integrate its local factions to make it a two-way battle with the DPP candidate.

In Pingtung, Yunlin and Yilan counties, the KMT and the DPP will each field one candidate, which means that those seats will be a straight fight between the two major parties.

This is not the case in Hsinchu, Chiayi or Nantou counties, where there are four aspirants for each seat. Among the hopefuls in the Hsinchu County race are KMT-nominated Legislator Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳) and Hsinchu County Council Speaker Chang Pi-chin (張碧琴), who was expelled by the KMT on Monday for registering for the county commissioner election. It will be three-way races in Miaoli, Taoyuan, Hualien, Penghu, Lienchiang (Matsu) and Changhua counties, as well as in Chiayi, Keelung and Hsinchu cities.

In Yunlin County, a recent survey by the United Daily News put incumbent DPP Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) far ahead of the KMT’s last-minute nominee, Wu Wei-chi (吳威志).

In Hualien County, KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁), who is running as an independent, is leading KMT nominee Tu Li-hua (杜麗華) and Hualien County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chih-ming (張志明), who recently withdrew from the KMT to run as an independent candidate, the newspaper poll showed.

Meanwhile, a KMT official said yesterday the party would expel those who do not toe the party line and run as independents in elections.

Juan Kang-meng (阮剛猛), director of the KMT’s Evaluation and Disciplinary Committee, said that five KMT members, including Fu, Wu and Chang Chi-ming will be expelled when the KMT steering committee meets today.

The year-end “three-in-one” elections for mayors and county commissioners, city and county councilors, and city and township heads will be held on Dec. 5.

Because seven cities and counties — Taipei County, Taichung City and county, Tainan City and county and Kaohsiung City and county — will be upgraded or merged into municipalities, the elections will be held in only 17 cities and counties.

The polls will be the first crucial test of the government’s popularity since the harsh criticism it faced over the 700 deaths, massive flooding and landslides that occurred in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot in August.

The elections are also seen as an indicator toward the outcome of next year’s municipal elections and the 2012 presidential election.

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