The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has turned its focus to the Jhunan Towship (竹南) mayoral by-election in Miaoli County on Saturday, following a loss in a Greater Taichung legislative by-election over the weekend.
The party is calling on voters in the township to support its candidate, Lee Chen-hua (李震華), and to ignore other candidates’ smear tactics, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said.
This will be the second mayoral by-election to be held in the central Taiwan town in the past year after Kang Shih-ju’s (康世儒) victory in the last by-election — following the death of the late mayor, Hsieh Ching-chuan (謝清泉) — was declared invalid by the Miaoli County District Court on June 14 last year.
The DPP had never nominated a candidate in the constituency in the past, treating the independent Kang as an ally who could break the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) local dominance, but has since changed its position and opted to nominate its own candidate, Lin said.
Lee, a lawyer, is running against Kang’s younger brother, Kang Shih-ming (康世明), an independent, and the KMT’s Chen Pi-hua (陳碧華).
Lee told the press conference that Kang Shih-ju had his brother run in the race to maintain his political presence, adding that Kang had tried to mislead DPP supporters into thinking that the party still supports him and his brother.
Lee said the persistent power struggle between Kang’s faction and that of Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) has turned “ugly,” adding that Jhunan Township had trouble securing budgetary support under Kang’s leadership because Liu refused to cooperate with him.
“The ugly war between these two local factions will likely continue if Kang [Shih-ju] wins the election because Liu will keep boycotting the town’s major development projects,” Lee said.