After winning the the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) internal primary poll for the post yesterday, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) is set to run as the party’s candidate in the Taichung’s mayoral election in the year-end election.
If the 65-year-old Hu is re-elected in November, the central city — commonly seen as a traditional stronghold for the KMT — would be set to be under his leadership for 17 years.
The KMT will try to highlight to voters Hu’s achievement in building Taichung into an “international metropolis” during his 13-year mayorship.
Except for four years between 1997 and 2001, Taichung has always been governed by a member of the KMT in recent decades.
However, in the last mayoral election in 2010, when Taichung city and Taichung county were merged to form one big special municipality, Hu edged the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) by a mere 2.2 percent margin, or fewer than 32,000 votes.
Which party carries Greater Taichung is of importance because the two major political parties will each be favored to win two of the five big special municipalities that account for about 60 percent of the country’s population.
The KMT is likely to be the front-runner in Taipei and New Taipei City, while DPP incumbents are likely to be favorites in Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan cities.
A DPP gain in Greater Taichung would likely give the party a major boost ahead of the presidential election in 2016.
DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), who is to challenge Hu in the year-end election again after a nine-year hiatus, yesterday congratulated his opponent and said that he will do his utmost to win the race.
“Change is already a common consensus across party lines,” 50-year-old Lin said.
After losing by more than 87,000 ballots to Hu in 2005, Lin worked to gain support at the grassroots level for the past 10 years, hoping to win more votes in the municipality.