Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislator evades Keelung draft

FAMILY TIES:After jettisoning the legally challenged Huang Ching-tai, the KMT struggled to find someone willing to fill his shoes in the important mayoral race

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang, left, and his wife talk to reporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport before beginning a 10-day European trip yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) turned down a nomination offer from the party and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, to run in Keelung’s mayoral election, citing objections from his family.

The KMT has been looking for a replacement for Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), whose nomination was withdrawn by the party on Wednesday in relation to corruption allegations and tanking public support.

Hsieh was at the top of the party’s replacement list.

The legislator has been asserting his unwillingness to run for office and formally rejected the offer after meeting the president on Thursday night.

“My family and my parents are all against the idea. So I have to say sorry to President Ma. However, I will certainly do my job for the party’s election campaign in Keelung,” he said at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.

The legislator left the nation yesterday morning for a 10-day trip to Europe.

In a telephone interview with News 98 radio show host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) prior to his departure, Hsieh was asked whether his relationship with the party would be at risk if he refused the nomination, which could negatively affect his nomination next year for legislator.

The three-term legislator said he “does not view [the legislator nomination] that seriously,” adding that if he has the chance, he would continue to serve as a representative, but if not, “I would be OK with changing my career, too.”

Reportedly, Hsieh’s family background figured in the KMT’s decisionmaking process for replacing Huang.

The Hsiehs, who own the Sangong Group (三功集團) and local businesses such as the Second Credit Cooperative of Keelung and educational institutions such as Keelung ErXin High School, are a prominent family in the city.

Both Hsieh’s father and grandfather were Keelung councilors and provincial councilors — during the time when the Taiwan Provincial Government was still functioning — and his grandfather had once run for mayor.

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