Former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) yesterday shrugged off reports of a smear campaign targeting him and said he would announce his decision on whether to join the Taipei mayoral race next month after the Lunar New Year holiday.
While declining to confirm his election bid, Lien, son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), has been busy attending local events and canvassing the city for support.
He was at a charity event organized by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) in the city’s Wenshan District (文山) yesterday.
As a member of the Lien family, Sean Lien commands popular support in the pan-blue camp, making him a viable contender in the year-end local elections.
However, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has had “problematic” relations with Lien Chan, reportedly favors KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) for the post and plans to launch a smear campaign against Sean Lien, according to a story in the latest edition of the China Times Weekly magazine.
Sean Lien declined to comment on the report, saying there are many issues that deserve more of the public’s attention.
“There are flaws and malicious intentions in society, and there is also false information. However, there are people who are dedicated to serving the public, and this is why we should work harder and fight for a better society,” he said.
The KMT and Ma, who doubles as party chairman, have dismissed allegations that the party would not be supportive of Sean Lien because of the rift between the president and Lien Chan.
They said the party would give its full support to all candidates once they are determined by the primary mechanism.
Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is said to support Sean Lien, yesterday denied that a recent personnel reshuffle in his team was made to consolidate his force for the Taipei mayoral election.
Hau earlier this month appointed former KMT Taipei city councilors Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) and Wang Hao (王浩) as commissioners of the city’s Department of Education and Department of Social Welfare respectively.
Sean Lien’s special assistant William Hsu (徐弘庭) is set to join the Taipei city councilor election and stand in elections to fill the vacancy left by Lin, who represented the Daan and Wenshan electoral district.
Hau said he made the two appointments in an effort to understand public opinion better, dismissing any links to or arrangements for the election.
“Government officials who had served as city councilors can help us understand public opinion better. There are no other considerations [behind the personnel reshuffle],” he said.