Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Terry Gou’s picks fail to win seats

BIGGEST LOSER?The Hon Hai chairman’s aggressive campaign efforts failed to counter a nationwide shifting sentiment that swept opposition candidates into offices

By Ou Hsiang-yi  /  Staff reporter

The defeat of each Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayoral and commissioner candidate endorsed by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) in Saturday’s nine-in-one elections has been widely interpreted by netizens as a rejection by voters of the government’s lean toward China.

Gou campaigned for KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), Yunlin County commissioner candidate Chang Li-shan (張麗善) and Greater Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興).

The business tycoon pledged on Monday last week to increase his investment in Taichung if Hu were elected for a fourth term. He also announced a plan earlier in the month to spend NT$80 billion (US$2.67 billion) to build a low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) display factory in Kaohsiung as part of his effort to drum up support for Yang.

However, Gou’s oft-played “economic card” seemed to have lost its appeal, as the quartet were all soundly beaten by their opponents.

Lien lost to independent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) by more than 250,000 votes, Hu fell to the Democratic Progressive Party’s Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) by nearly 210,000 votes, and Chang and Yang lost their campaigns by 57,000 and 540,000 votes respectively.

Commenting on the phenomenon, Taiwanese writer Ping Lu (平路) said since Gou is regarded as a “spokesman” for Beijing, if his endorsement had benefited the candidates concerned it would imply Taiwanese succumbed easily to intimidation and economic inducement.

“Hopefully, Gou’s backfiring endorsements will prompt Beijing to learn to respect the nation’s democracy,” she said.

Wealth publishing group chairman Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河) yesterday posted on Facebook that the four candidates’ failure in the elections suggests that the economics card so frequently played by businesspeople who have made significant profits in China is no longer working.

“Gou might be the biggest loser of Saturday’s elections,” Hsieh said.

Gou’s tactic of threatening voters had already raised concerns and triggered criticism prior to the elections, with critics saying: “Being rich does not give Terry Gou the right to dictate to voters.”

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