Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: DPP councilors swell ranks

By Yu Pei-ju and Ko Yu-hau  /  Staff reporters

Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) city councilors who sought re-election in Taipei in Saturday’s elections came up short, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gained a substantial number of seats when compared with the previous election in 2010.

Comparing the outcome of this year’s Taipei mayoral election with the previous one, KMT Taipei City Councilor Chin Hui-chu (秦慧珠) said that KMT candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) losing 230,000 votes to independent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) indicates that the KMT lost the backing of 400,000 potential pan-blue supporters, since Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT beat the DPP’s Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) by 170,000 votes four years ago.

The current social atmosphere has translated into voters turning their backs on the KMT and, consequently, the party’s performance in the elections suffered, Chin said, adding that it was a shame that some of her capable colleagues in the council had to go.

Among them is Taipei City Councilor Wang Cheng-te (王正德), who served four consecutive terms. Wang earlier this year came under fire for remarks he made about the city’s placement project for homeless people, likening the plan to “feeding stray dogs” and saying that homeless people are “potentially mad.”

He also drew criticism from environmental protection activists for saying that the city government should remove dozens of trees planted along Guangfu S Road as soon as possible, as requested by Farglory Land Development Co for its Farglory Dome construction project.

Wang said he did not work hard enough and attributed his ouster to the KMT’s campaign strategies, calling them a “let-down” to Taipei residents.

Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如), who has also served four straight terms, was also cast out. She is currently suspended by the party over her alleged involvement in a bribery case in connection with a municipal development project in Taipei. Lai is accused of influencing decisions to help a multinational consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development Co win a bid to construct the Taipei Twin Towers project in exchange for a NT$1 million (US$32,200) kickback.

Commenting on her defeat, Lai said that she would work harder to meet the challenges and hardships that come her way.

With a turnout of 70.46 percent of eligible voters in Taipei, the KMT won 28 of the 63 city councilor seats, while the DPP secured 27. The New Party II and the People First Party (PFP) each landed two seats, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) one, while three went to independents.

In the 2010 election, the KMT won 31 seats against the DPP’s 23.

This time, 27 of the 29 DPP nominees for all six constituencies across the capital were elected and five DPP contenders recorded the highest votes received in their respective constituencies.

Six DPP Greater Kaohsiung councilor candidates who are seen as Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu’s (陳菊) “disciples” were elected with a high percentage of votes: Lee Po-yi (李伯毅) raked in more than 30,000 votes in Zuonan District (左楠), while Kao Min-ling (高閔玲) finished with the third-highest share — more than 26,000 — among all candidates in the municipality.

The sweeping victory of the six candidates could be seen as Greater Kaohsiung residents expressing approval of Chen’s goal for the DPP to take the council majority.

In Greater Taichung, the KMT garnered 28 of 63 councilor seats, the DPP 27, the PFP two and independents, six.

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