Thu, Oct 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

DPP eyes KMT strongholds in next year’s elections

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff Reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wants to field DPP Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) and Hung Kuo-hao (洪國浩), mayor of Nantou County’s Caotun Township (草屯), as candidates for Taitung and Nantou county commissioners respectively in next year’s local elections and hold primary elections for the races in Kaohsiung and Tainan and Yilan and Chiayi counties before next year.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the DPP, last week meet with Liu and Hung to persuade them to run, DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said yesterday.

While not yet finalized, “nominating the two is widely supported in the party, and the [DPP] Electoral Strategy Committee will finalize the recruitment and nomination procedure after communicating with local politicians again,” Chang said.

Taitung and Nantou are run by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and are considered difficult constituencies for the DPP.

The DPP nominated Liu to run for Taitung county commissioner in 2009 and 2014, but he lost both elections.

The DPP nominated Veterans Affairs Council Deputy Minister Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) to run for Nantou county commissioner in 2009 and 2014, but he also lost both times.

Hung is considered to be a strong candidate for Nantou County commissioner, given his current post.

At least one televised debate would be held as part of primaries in Kaohsiung, Tainan, Yilan and Chiayi — where competition for a nomination is fierce, the party said.

As many as 70 percent of potential candidates seeking the DPP’s nomination have agreed to hold the primaries by March, but a handful — likely those to lead in opinion polls — prefer an earlier timeframe, Chang said.

Some potential candidates have expressed their reservations about the proposed debate, fearing their remarks might be used against them by KMT opponents in future elections, but committee convener Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) said that the DPP conducted a debate in 2014, so doing so again should be feasible.

The DPP also plans to nominate either former DPP legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) or Hsu Ting-chen (徐定禎), the independent mayor of Miaoli County’s Toufen City (頭份), to run for Miaoli County commissioner, Chang said.

Miaoli is a KMT stronghold, as it has won 16 of 17 commissioner elections there, with its only defeat being by former Miaoli County commissioner Fu Hsueh-peng (傅學鵬), a former KMT member turned independent.

The DPP has yet to decide on candidates for other areas, while the incumbent DPP mayors of Taoyuan, Taichung, Keelung, Hsinchu and Chiayi and the commissioners of Changhua, Yunlin, Pingtung and Penghu counties are expected to seek re-election.

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