Hsieh Kuo-lien,The China Post
Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan yesterday encouraged Chang Chau-hsiung, vice chairman of the People First Party (PFP), to run for Kaohsiung mayor for the two main opposition parties. Lien said that “Chang Chau-hsiung was born in Kaohsiung and he has served as the president of the Chang Gung University. He holds accurate points of view on public issues at both local and national levels.” “He should seriously consider running for Kaohsiung mayor,” Lien said. Lien’s support for the PFP vice chairman might trigger bitter disputes inside the KMT, as three KMT members — Huang Jun-ying, former Kaohsiung deputy mayor, Huang Chi-chuan, speaker of the Kaohsiung City Council, and Legislator Yao Kao-chiao — have been seeking the KMT’s nomination.
Lien said that “cooperation between the KMT and PFP means that we will put up only one joint candidate for the Kaohsiung mayoral election scheduled for December.” “At present, three KMT members have announced their intention to run for the post. All of them have performed quite well previously and held perfect relations with the locals.” “Nonetheless, when it comes to cooperation between the KMT and PFP, we have to consider other factors.” “I think that Chang Chau-hsiung will be a perfect joint candidate,” he added. Asked whether he was granting Chang firm endorsement, Lien replied that “I am just encouraging him to run for the post.” As to the possible vehement protest by the three who had announced their desire to run on the KMT ticket, Lien replied in an indirect way, saying that “there must be some problems with partisan cooperation, but the KMT and PFP will be bound together in dealing with such challenges.” Chang not prepared yet In response to the KMT chairman’s support, Chang said he would think over the issue seriously. Please see LIEN on page
“I thank both Lien and our Chairman James Soong for granting me their support. Nevertheless, I have no plans to participate in the Kaohsiung mayoral election for the time being.” “And I have not been fully prepared,” the PFP vice chairman said. “I will seriously consider accepting the mission, in order to realize both Lien Chan’s and Soong’s wishes.” He said he would consult with the other PFP officials and his friends and relatives in the southern port city. He said he would make an effort to find out exactly what Kaohsiung residents need and what incumbent Mayor Frank Hsieh has failed to do. “I will consider whether I am capable of meeting Kaohsiung residents’ wishes before making my decision.” “I am going to make the final call within the next few days. If I decide not to run for the post, I will let the KMT officials know as soon as possible.” The 60-year-old Chang, who obtained his medical degree from National Taiwan University, practiced his profession for more than 30 years and served as the president of the Taoyuan-based Chang Gung University between 1997 and 1999.
Rivals’ response If Chang later decides to participate in the year-end race, he will compete with Frank Hsieh of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh. Frank Hsieh, who has long envisioned another term, said that he would be pleased to compete with a man who had run for vice president. Soong and Chang, who participated in the 2000 presidential election, lost the race to Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu. “I also have the experience of running for vice president. And I failed too. We have similar backgrounds,” Chang said. Lee Teng-hui and Lien defeated the DPP candidates Peng Ming-min and Frank Hsieh in the 1996 presidential election. Commenting on the KMT’s support for Chang, Shih Ming-teh, who announced on Sunday he would run as an independent, said that he welcomed Chang to compete for the office.