Sat, Feb 27, 2010 - Page 3 News List

KMT, DPP make final by-election stump

By Mo Yan-chih and Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Supporters of Huang Jen-chu, the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate in today’s Taoyuan County legislative by-election, show their support for Huang by flying flags off their scooters yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights pulled out all the stops yesterday campaigning for their respective candidates in today’s legislative by-elections.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in his role as KMT chairman, spent last night in Taoyuan County campaigning for Apollo Chen (陳學聖).

The KMT hopes to win in Taoyuan and Hualien counties, both traditional pan-blue strongholds.

KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) stumped for Hualien candidate Wang Ting-sheng (王廷升) on Thursday and yesterday, attacking both DPP rival Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and independent candidate Shih Sheng-lang (施勝郎).

Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) accompanied Shih yesterday as he canvassed the streets, deepening the conflict between his faction and the KMT.

KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) denied that the Hualien contest had become a battle between the KMT and Fu, urging pan-blue supporters to vote for Wang so the county would not be governed by Hsiao, who is not from Hualien.

“We think the party would have a great chance of taking Hualien if we can integrate pan-blue forces,” Su said.

Ma accompanied Wang as he campaigned in Hualien yesterday afternoon.

He attacked Shih for having a criminal record, while challenging Hsiao over her campaign promises, which include cutting ticket prices for trains and planes.

“You all should think about whether those candidates will develop the county and present solid policies before casting your votes,” Ma said.

King admitted the party was facing tougher battles in Hsinchu and Chiayi counties.

The KMT has had difficulty integrating local factions in Hsinchu, and will have to win the support of factions led by Hsinchu County Commissioner Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳) and Hsinchu County Council Speaker Chang Pi-chin (張碧琴) to win.

Ma said today’s by-election was an important battle for the KMT, and he urged voters to support KMT candidates to boost party momentum.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also spent yesterday campaigning, making stops in Hualien, Taoyuan and Hsinchu.

Tsai called on voters to send a message to the Ma administration that it was “time for change.”

She said the party would aim for a “home-run,” and attempt to win all four seats up for grabs today.

“We have assumed control of all four election races, we know that some places are stable and some places need more work,” Tsai said. “Based on the local response we’ve had … we hope that we could deliver the best results.”

Any optimism about an upset in the three races was tempered by fears over corruption and last- minute vote buying by the KMT, DPP officials said.

In Taoyuan County, DPP heavyweight Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called the rival candidate “ruthless,” and said voters should be wary of attempts by the KMT to “influence voting.”

Tsai voiced similar sentiments.

“We have heard numerous rumors from locals that our opponent is being supported by money,” she said.

In a sign of how important the DPP was taking the elections, party headquarters was virtually empty as officials went out stumping yesterday.

Some officials headed to Taipei Main Station yesterday morning to hand out flyers urging commuters to go home and vote for the DPP’s candidates. Similar activities also took place in Taichung and Kaohsiung.

DPP officials said they were confident that Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) would win by a wide margin in Chiayi because the county has traditionally supported the DPP.

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