Sun, Dec 06, 2009 - Page 4 News List

2009 ELECTIONS: DPP regains Yilan County seat

IN THE BAGMedia said Lin Tsong-shyan’s victory was in part thanks to support from a former commissioner’s wife, who symbolically gave Lin her late husband’s briefcase

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Supporters of Democratic Progressive Party Yilan County commissioner candidate Lin Tsong-shyan cheer for the candidate outside Lin’s campaign headquarters in Luodong, Yilan County yesterday.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO,TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regained control over Yilan County yesterday as Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) defeated County Commissioner Lu Guo-hua (呂國華) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

The victory in Yilan was particularly sweet for the DPP as it had said winning back its former stronghold would determine the party’s overall success in the midterm elections.

Lin, the chief of Luodong Township (羅東), won with 133,394 votes, or 54.26 percent, with Lu garnering 112,469 votes, or 45.74 percent.

In 2005, Lu beat the popular former Yilan county commissioner, Chen Ding-nan (陳定南), garnering 51 percent of the votes. The win brought an end to 24 years of DPP rule in the county.

Media attributed Lin’s success partially to the endorsement delivered by Chen’s wife Chang Chao-yi (張昭義), who appeared at Lin’s rally on Friday. Chang made a symbolic gesture by handing Lin her late husband’s briefcase. Chen died of lung cancer in 2006.

Aware that Lu might lose his bid for re-election, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) paid about a dozen visits to Yilan during the campaign and made a last-minute plea for votes on Friday night. Lu conceded defeat at 7:05pm with Lin leading by about 20,000 votes.

“I just want to thank all our friends who have supported me throughout the election,” Lu said. “We simply have to face the voters’ choice with courage.”

Meanwhile, in Taoyuan County, KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) became the county’s 16th commissioner, but had to survive a valiant challenge from Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) of the DPP.

While Wu won, the DPP greatly improved on its result from four years ago.

Wu secured victory with 396,237 votes, or 52.22 percent, compared with Cheng’s 346,678 votes, or 45.69 percent.

Wu’s predecessor, Eric Chu (朱立倫), secured more than 60 percent of the votes in Taoyuan four years ago, beating his DPP challenger, former TAIYEN Co chairman Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清), who garnered about 38 percent of the votes.

Both Wu’s father, former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), and his grandfather, Wu Hung-lin (吳鴻麟), are former Taoyuan County commissioners.

In Keelung, Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮) was re-elected with 55.11 percent of the ballot, defeating young DPP challenger Lin Yu-chang (林右昌).

Four years ago, the late Keelung mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利) won only 41 percent, outnumbering his Taiwan Solidarity Union opponent Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) by about 10 percent. Hsu died of sepsis in 2007. His unfinished term was completed by Chang after a by-election.

The keenly contested election in Yilan and yesterday’s sunny weather motivated many people to return home and vote.

The Taiwan Railway Administration reported that express train tickets to Yilan County were sold out yesterday. Freeway bus operators also said their services to Yilan were fully booked.

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