Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) announced his intention to run the mayorship of Greater Kaohsiung yesterday, but a potential KMT rival questioned his loyalty to the party.
Chang, a former member of the People First Party (PFP), told a press conference at the legislature that he was entering the race to break the imbalance between northern and southern Taiwan.
The two-term legislator vowed to help the number of tourists to the city grow five fold to 5 million within four years if he became the KMT’s nominee and was elected in the year-end special municipality elections.
KMT legislators Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), Justin Chou (周守訓) and Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) and National Taiwan University philosophy professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波), who once taught Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), all endorsed Chang at the press conference.
Wang said he would not support Chen unless she quits the Democratic Progressive Party.
Chang was the first KMT member to officially express an interest in running in the election. The KMT has had trouble finalizing a nominee for mayor of Greater Kaohsiung — the name of Kaohsiung City and county following their merger in December.
KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said two weeks ago that the party would hold its primary opinion poll on April 14 and would not nominate any candidate from outside the city or county.
Another potential contender, KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), a six-term lawmaker from Kaohsiung City, questioned whether Chang was loyal to the KMT or the PFP.
Huang said she was not worried that Chang enjoyed the endorsement of the three legislators and Wang, adding that they were not as influential as senior Kaohsiung politicians like Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) or former Kaohsiung City Council speaker Chen Tien-mao (陳田錨).
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