Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Security adviser defends eligibility for Keelung race

PARACHUTED IN?Hsieh Li-kung quoted President Ma as commending his suitability for the post, adding that he had lived in the city for over 20 years

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

National Security Council adviser Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) yesterday defended his potential appointment by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as its new candidate for the Keelung mayoral race, saying he was “returning” to the city, rather than being “parachuted in” as critics have said.

While the KMT has yet to make an official announcement, speculation is rife that Hsieh is to replace Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), who won the party’s primary, but lost the nomination amid corruption allegations.

Hsieh, a former National Immigration Agency director-general, said in a radio interview yesterday that after the party nullified Huang’s candidacy, he has received many calls — including from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also the KMT chairman — urging him to run.

Hsieh said Ma had talked to him in person, analyzing the situation and Hsieh’s background and qualifications, and said he was the most suitable candidate for the Keelung race.

Some have dismissed Hsieh’s potential nomination, saying the KMT knows very well that he cannot win in an election where Huang, who has insisted on running despite the party’s withdrawal of support, is sure to split the vote for the pan-blue camp.

In response, Hsieh said he cannot make any “big moves,” since the party has not yet completed its nomination process.

“It will be clear after a week whether I will be running for real or not,” he said.

If the KMT does decide to nominate Hsieh, it is expected to make its move at the meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee — its top decisionmaking body — next week.

Hsieh also rebuffed accusations that he was being “parachuted in” for the job, saying he was “returning” to the city where he had lived for more than 20 years.

He got his first job and bought his first house in Keelung. Moreover, his children were born in the city, Hsieh said.

As for Huang’s refusal to stand down, Hsieh said many KMT members are still trying to persuade him to withdraw.

“Communication takes time,” Hsieh said.

“A person might be rash when he is in a fit of pique, but as time passes by he might change his mind,” he said, referring to Huang.

The party will continue to talk to Huang until Sept. 1 — the date of the official registration for the election — after which it will adjust its campaign strategy depending on whether Huang stays in the race, Hsieh said.

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