The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidates for Changhua County and Chiayi are neck and neck with their Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterparts, but they are gaining an edge as the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections approach, DPP campaigners said.
The party’s position in the central municipalities is precarious, including Changhua County Commissioner Wei Ming-ku’s (魏明谷) re-election bid, DPP campaigners said.
Wei’s support rate lagged behind KMT candidate Wang Hui-mei (王惠美) by 15 percentage points in July, when the DPP administration’s pension reforms took effect, but the DPP’s most recent survey showed that the gap has narrowed to 2 percentage points, the campaigners said.
Wei’s support had also been affected by the central government’s performance, including its amendment of the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) and handling of the flooding in the central and southern regions last month, they said.
Asked about the effect of the DPP’s strategy of capitalizing on Wang’s connection to his hometown — Lugang Township (鹿港) — the campaigners said it is taking effect gradually.
Wei has started launching promotions highlighting his administration’s accomplishments, such as improving the county’s transportation, “green” energy development and social welfare system, and plans to release more targeted ads focused on local towns or to work with mayors of special municipalities, they said.
Comparing the elections to a marathon, DPP Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said that candidates need perseverance while at the same time showcasing their accomplishments.
While Wang is performing well now, her shortcomings might be exposed in the long run, Hung said.
DPP Chiayi Mayor Twu Shiing-jer’s (涂醒哲) re-election bid has also stabilized, as pan-blue support appears split between two candidates — the KMT’s official candidate, Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), and Chiayi City Council Speaker Hsiao Shu-li (蕭淑麗), who is running as an independent, Hung said.
After the flooding in the central and southern regions on Aug. 23, Twu now has the highest support rate, while Huang has slid to second place, he added.
As for the New Taipei City mayoral race, the DPP has been seriously affected by the scandal involving former Transitional Justice Commission deputy chairman Chang Tien-chin (張天欽), who allegedly planned to draft a dismissal law to target KMT mayoral candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜), DPP campaign members said.
DPP New Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was about to catch up with Hou’s support ratings, but the scandal has affected his standing, which might remain this way for some time, Su’s campaign office said.
Taiwanese are to go to the polls on Nov. 24 to choose special municipality mayors and councilors; city mayors and county commissioners and councilors; Aboriginal district representatives and councilors; township mayors and councilors; and borough wardens and village chiefs.
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