Sun, Nov 30, 2014 - Page 0 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Shifting tides increase DPP offices in Central Taiwan

OUT OF OPPOSITION?Victories in Chiayi City, and Yunlin and Changhua counties bolstered the Democratic Progressive Party’s leadership positions across the nation

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Residents of a veterans’ home in Yunlin County line up to vote yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday claimed significant victories in mayoral and commissioner elections in central Taiwan, winning leadership campaigns in four out of five cities and counties.

The DPP regained control over Changhua County as Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) defeated Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏).

Wei — who resigned from the legislature four days before the elections in a move intended to show his determination and dedication to the campaign — beat Lin by a large margin, winning with 386,405 votes, or 53.71 percent.

Lin, who has served three terms as a KMT lawmaker, is considered a controversial figure and reportedly maintains close ties with local groups said to be affiliated with organized crime.

Lin garnered 284,738 votes, or 39.58 percent, while independent Changhua County commissioner candidates Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) and Hung Min-hsiung (洪敏雄) received 37,593 and 10,674 votes respectively.

The DPP’s win in Changhua was particularly hard-earned, given that in the 2009 county commissioner election, party candidate and former legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) lost to her KMT rival, Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), by a significant margin.

One of the reasons behind Lin’s loss could be the conviction of Cho’s younger brother, Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), in a graft case. Cho Po-chung was found guilty in January of colluding with business groups to illegally pocket NT$49 million (US$1.57 million) in the procurement of environmentally friendly bags by the county government in 2011.

‘CELESTIAL DRAGONS’

In his victory speech, Wei pledged to “transform Changhua into the next Tian Long Guo [天龍國, “Kingdom of the Celestial Dragons,” a term used to refer to Taipei] and allow its residents to enjoy the same benefits as Tian Long Guo residents.”

Despite Wei’s victory, the DPP’s hopes of winning all three traditional pan-blue camp strongholds of Changhua, Greater Taichung and Nantou County in central Taiwan were dashed, after DPP Nantou County commissioner candidate Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) lost to the KMT Legislator Lin Ming-cheng (林明溱) by a small margin.

Lin Ming-cheng, a two-term KMT lawmaker, garnered 149,361 votes, or 50.96 percent, while Lee, who resigned as director of his party’s department of organization last year to focus on the campaign, received 143,719 votes.

Lee Wen-chung saw an increase in the votes he received from 39.8 percent in the 2009 election to 49.04 percent, despite his opponent’s attempt to portray him as a “heartless” man who divorced his first wife to marry a younger woman.

CHIAYI CITY

In Chiayi City, DPP mayoral candidate and former lawmaker Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) won with 74,698 votes, or 51.41 percent, defeating his KMT rival, former National Youth Commission minister Chen Yi-chen (陳以真), who garnered 45.5 percent of the votes.

Twu’s victory put an end to the KMT’s nearly decade-long leadership in the city.

Chen’s loss means that her perceived attempts to distance herself from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman and whose approval ratings are in the gutter, during the campaign were of no avail.

Four years ago, the KMT’s then-mayoral candidate, Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), won with 69,962 votes, or 52.2 percent, while DPP challenger Twu received 61,268 votes, or 45.7 percent.

Meanwhile, DPP Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) was re-elected, winning 63.09 percent of the votes against KMT rival Wong Chung-chun’s (翁重鈞) 34.09 percent.

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