Lai’s landslide victory keeps DPP’s solid grip on Tainan

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

ANALYSIS Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te yesterday won a landslide victory over Kuomintang (KMT) rival Kuo Tien-tsai to take the seat as the new Tainan City mayor with a significant margin of more than 200,000 votes, helping the opposition party to keep its tight grip on one of its most stable strongholds. Lai garnered over 60 percent of all valid votes (60.41 percent), with 619,897 votes, while his KMT counterpart Kou earned less than 40 percent (39.59 percent) with 406,196 votes. He enjoyed leads in all of the 37 electoral districts of Tainan City. In the previous Tainan City mayoral election in 2005, DPP took the seat with 45.65 percent of all votes. The party also took the Tainan county magistrate election in the same year with over 50 percent of votes. The result came as no surprise to many as all previous surveys showed that the DPP candidate was ahead of his KMT counterpart with a double digit lead. The southern city and county have always been regarded as a stronghold for the DPP. The mayoral election in Tainan, had therefore been given less attention in the media than the other four municipal races because it was widely regarded as a sure-win for the DPP. No wonder DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen said that his party would definitely take Tainan and Kaohsiung unless something unexpected like “an asteroid hitting the Earth” happened. Despite the fact that Lai got his campaign off to a shaky start following a fierce internal competition for the DPP nomination a few months back, he had enjoyed a comfortable lead ever since he launched his campaign. Lai also made his best effort to continue his campaign despite that fact that everyone believed it was a sure-win for him.

It was reported that Lai had lost six kilograms and worn out three pairs of shoes by walking too much during his campaign. KMT’s Kuo who is less well known to people outside the Tainan area and a relative newcomer to the political scene in Taiwan, suffered again in the Tainan election. He previously joined the 2005 Tainan County Magistrate election under the KMT flag and was defeated by the incumbent DPP county chief Su Huan-chih by a small margin of less than 17,000 votes. Meanwhile, the DPP won nearly half of the total 57 seats for Tainan City councilors with 27, while KMT has 13 and non-partisan members took 17 seats.