The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday named Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) as its candidate in the Chiayi mayoral race in November, deepening fears of a pan-blue rift amid charges of favoritism.
Chen, a former National Youth Commission minister and TV news anchor, won a public poll conducted by the KMT with 40.9 percent of the vote, defeating two other contenders.
Chen, 37, popularly known as the “Little Princess” (小公主), because of her family, which owns Nice Group, a Chiayi County-based manufacturer of personal care and consumer goods, as well as food manufacturer AGV Products Corp.
As Chen secured the party’s nomination for Chiayi mayor, tensions also rose amid fears of a split vote.
Hsiao Shu-li (蕭淑麗), a long-time KMT member with strong grassroots support, announced on Monday that she was withdrawing from the party to run as an independent in the Chiayi election.
As news of Chen winning the party poll was confirmed yesterday, Hsiao released a statement questioning the nomination process.
“The poll was merely a formality. It was so obvious that Chen was favored as the KMT candidate, handpicked by [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and [Representative to the US] King Pu-tsung (金溥聰). She is being parachuted into Chiayi City. How can the public trust this process?” Hsiao asked.
Hsiao is chairperson of the Chiayi City Farmers’ Cooperative Association and a member of the “Hsiao family clan” (蕭家班), one of the most powerful and well-connected political factions in the city.
Political pundits said that having Hsiao run as an independent could split the pan-blue vote and give the pan-green candidate a better chance of winning.