Sun, Nov 30, 2014 - Page 4 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Taitung provides rare victory for KMT

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff Reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and independent commissioner candidates romped to re-election yesterday, with wide margins of victory for incumbents making the east coast counties of Hualien and Taitung counties exceptions to the pan-green wave that swept most of the nation.

Independent Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) won twice as many votes as KMT challenger Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔). He won 56.53 percent of the vote, up from 56.4 percent in 2009.

The election result was a resounding victory for Fu after his application to rejoin the KMT was rejected earlier this year.

Fu was expelled from the KMT when he stood for election in 2009 without party approval.

Fu’s campaign attracted special interest because his wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), also registered to stand as a candidate for commissioner, in a move widely viewed as “insurance” against the emergence of court verdicts barring him from standing for re-election. Despite their separate candidacies, the husband and wife campaigned as a team, sharing a single headquarters and appearing together in advertisements.

Hsu’s candidacy mirrored her previous appointment as vice commissioner when Fu was first elected, for which purpose the couple temporarily filed for divorce before the appointment was declared illegal by the Ministry of the Interior.

Fu has been shadowed by lawsuits related to stock market speculation throughout his term.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) did not field a commissioner candidate in Hualien County, with DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) saying earlier this month that her party lacked adequate support to launch a viable challenge. The DPP has struggled to make inroads with the Hakka and Aboriginal constituencies who comprise about two-thirds of Hualien’s voters.

Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) of the KMT also trounced his opponent, DPP Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪), in a rematch of the previous election. In 2009, the race was one of the closest in the nation, but yesterday Huang expanded his share of the vote to 54.41 percent, up from 52.6 percent.

The DPP fared better in Yilan County, where DPP incumbent Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) defeated his KMT opponent Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞) and expanded his margin of victory, winning re-election with 63.95 percent of the vote, compared with 54.2 percent in 2009.

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