With the five special municipality elections less than one month away, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he would step up his campaign for Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is running neck-and-neck with Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), his opponent from the Democratic Progressive Party.
Ma spent the afternoon shooting his weekly video address at the Taipei Story House to promote the achievements of Hau, who succeeded him as Taipei mayor, describing him as someone who was “as good a mayor as he [Ma] was.”
The Taipei Story House is located next to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, one of the exhibition venues for the Taipei International Flora Expo.
While the high-profile flora expo has been a keystone in Hau’s re-election bid, his campaign to return to office has been threatened by controversies surrounding flowers purchased for the expo as well as overpriced materials for the upgrading of the Xinsheng Overpass, with a number of city government officials under investigation for corruption.
To give Hau a boost, Ma said he would visit the flora expo sites on Friday evening.
Today, Ma, who is also the Chinese Nationalist party (KMT) chairman, will preside over the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting at Shezi Island (社子島) in Taipei City.
Shezi Island is a low-lying area that has constantly been hit by flooding during typhoons. It is also the site of many illegal houses.
Hau pledged in January this year to turn the 240-hectare area into “Taipei’s Manhattan” within 11 years after a long-stalled development project passed a review by the Council for Economic Planning and Development.
Urban development has been another cornerstone of Hau’s election bid. KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday said the party decided to hold the Central Standing Committee meeting in Shezidao to show the party’s concern for the future development of the area.
Committee members will also wear polo shirts bearing the flora expo logo to show their support for Hau and the expo, he said.
Hau, who has been invited to speak at the meeting, will outline his achievements over the four years and his blueprint for the future.
Also today, the MRT Lujhou Line connecting Taipei City and Taipei County’s Lujhou (蘆洲) and Sanchong (三重) cities will begin a trial service, with Ma scheduled to attend the opening ceremony.
Service on the line will be free until Dec. 2, a move that has been criticized by some as a gambit to garner support for Hau in the Nov. 27 election.
Trial services for other MRT lines either provided free rides to residents in the area or offered free services for only several hours a day.
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