Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday announced his re-election bid for November’s mayoral election, dismissing concerns about his health and the power transition after his more than decade-long governance of the city.
Surrounded by a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers and local city councilors, Hu defended his decision to seek re-election despite criticism of his 13-year tenure, and said that he entered the race with the aim of continuing to develop the city, rather than prolonging his political career.
“It’s easy to let go of power, but difficult to give up major city developments and residents in Taichung... In democratic politics, it’s not about one’s term in office, it’s about whether you are doing a good job,” he said at a press conference at the Greater Taichung City Council building.
Hu served as Taichung mayor for eight years between 2001 and 2010 before being elected to his current post following the city’s merger with Taichung County and upgrade to Greater Taichung special municipality.
Once a popular politician in Taichung with solid support, his approval ratings have declined in recent years, with recent polls showing that his support trailed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).
The health of the 65-year-old mayor has also caused concerns about his re-election bid, as he had suffered a stroke and underwent coronary artery bypass surgery while in office.
Hu yesterday said his re-election bid was in accordance with election regulations and shrugged off concerns about his health.
“I am entitled to seek re-election for the sake of Taichung under the legal limit of terms in office, and I don’t think there are any problems with my health,” he said.
“I expect my candidacy to help the KMT keep the reins of power in Taichung,” he added.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he respected Hu’s decision.
The KMT’s Taichung branch said it will accept candidacy registration today and tomorrow, and will hold polls to finalize the candidate by next month if negotiations fail.
In related news, former National Youth Commission minister Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) yesterday announced that she will seek the KMT’s nomination for the Chiayi mayoral election.
The 37-year-old Chen, who ran as the KMT’s legislative candidate for Chiayi County in 2012, but lost, is one of the young politicians the KMT is seeking to cultivate.
In announcing her election bid, Chen said as a native Chiayi resident, she aimed to address urban development and youth policies in Chiayi if elected.
While being a preferred candidate in the KMT, Chen said she will register for party primary and seek the party’s nomination in accordance with the party’s mechanism.
According to the party’s Chiayi branch, it will hold negotiations with potential candidates on March 14 and a primary on March 15 if the negotiations fail to finalize a candidate.