President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday focused his election campaign in the north, canvassing for votes in Yilan County, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung as he sought to consolidate his support base for Saturday’s presidential election.
Ma, who is seeking a second term, traveled to Yilan County in the morning, visiting the markets and hitting the streets on foot or by motorcade in Luodong (羅東), Suao (蘇澳), Toucheng (頭城) and downtown Yilan.
His appearance drew large crowds, with people crowding the streets downtown, waving campaign flags and chanting victory for Ma.
The passionate response in Yilan was seen as a great boost for Ma’s momentum in the final two days of the election campaign. The county is seen as a pan-green stronghold, especially after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the local county commissioner election to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2009.
Meeting supporters at the Suao Fishing Association, Ma said the government had increased the annual subsidy to the county every year, which reached NT$9.4 million (US$314,000) last year, as he defended his record on local development in cities and counties governed by the DPP.
“When it comes to taking care of the people, my administration has devoted the same effort in every city and county regardless of party affiliation,” he said.
Ma’s team then traveled to New Taipei City, canvassing in Jinshan (金山), Wanli (萬里), Tamsui (淡水), Sanjhih (三芝), Lujhou (蘆洲), Sinjhuang (新莊) and Sanchong (三重).
The momentum was strong in the city, where the KMT enjoys solid support. Tamsui’s Old Street — a major tourist attraction — was packed with residents and tourists who rushed to shake hands with him or take photos.
Many asked Ma to sign autographs on a variety of items, from clothes to Ma campaign products, while cheering the president as he solicited support on the streets.
“He is a good president who works hard to improve the economy and our lives, and he is a man of integrity. He deserves another four-year term,” said a female bank worker who requested anonymity.
Ma also found enthusiastic support in Keelung, making his final stop at Miaokou Night Market.
In an effort to consolidate support in pan-blue strongholds, Ma will campaign in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe (中和) and Yonghe (永和) districts today, as well as in veterans’ communities in Taipei.
On the final day of the campaign, Ma will make a speech in Greater Taichung’s Ching Chuan-Kang Airport following a visit to former president Chiang Ching-kuo’s (蔣經國) grave in Taoyuan.
He will then attend large campaign rallies in Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Taichung before heading back to Taipei for his last campaign rally on Ketagalan Boulevard.