Public campaigns for municipality mayoral polls kick off


TAIPEI — The 15-day period of public campaigning for mayoral candidates running in Taipei City and four new municipalities, which are set to come into existence before the end of the year, began yesterday in the final runup to the Nov. 27 elections.

Most of the candidates hit the streets to stump for support. In the capital, incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) Mayor Hau Lung-bin, who is seeking re-election, began the day by sweeping the street in Shilin district, where he lives.

Asking for one more chance to serve the city’s residents, Hau said he had made good on all the promises he made four years ago in his first bid for the mayoralty.

In Taipei County in northern Taiwan, which will be upgraded to the municipality of Xinbei City Dec. 25, the candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai Ing-wen, who is in a neck-and-neck battle with her KMT opponent, Eric Lilun Chu, addressed her ideas for urban renewal during a visit to local markets in Sanchong.

The DPP chairwoman said that if she is elected, she will make sure the future city government will play the leading role in the promotion of the renewal of what will be the country’s most populous city in which 40 percent of the houses are older than 30 years, she said.

In the city of Taichung that same day, incumbent Mayor Jason Hu, the KMT’s heavyweight candidate in the central Taiwan city, launched his campaign in Wurih Township, location of the Wurih High-Speed Railway station. During a motorcade, he spelled out his ambitions for building the future Taichung City — a combination of the city and Taichung County — into Taiwan’s most important transport hub.

DPP candidate Su Jia-chyuan challenged Hu with his own blueprint for a “city of culture,” which drew support from many cultural activists and artists in Su’s outings earlier in the day.

In southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City, which is due to merge with Kaohsiung County to form Kaohsiung municipality, three candidates — the KMT’s Huang Chao-chun, the DPP’s Chen Chu (the incumbent mayor) and independent Yang Chiu-hsing — all held campaign parades in different districts of the city.

The DPP’s candidate in the Tainan mayoral race, Lai Ching-te, meanwhile, joined forces with Chen to stage a joint campaign event on a bridge connecting Kaohsiung and Tainan counties. The two candidates signed a memorandum at the event declaring that they will cooperate with each other to boost their chances of election victory.