9-in-1 Elections’ campaigns run hot in Taitung and the outlying islands

By Joy Chang, The China Post

Although under less media scrutiny than the rest of the country, Taitung County and Taiwan’s three surrounding islands, Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu, are still crucial electoral districts that the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspire to claim as their own.

Two Rivals Meet

again in Taitung Incumbant KMT Magistrate Justin Huang (�����x) and DPP candidate Liu Chao-hao (�B�g��) are competing for the position of Taitung County magistrate in the 9-in-1 Elections. The rivalry between the two is a reiteration of the Taitung magistrate election five years ago, when Huang and Liu first came head to head. After Liu lost to Huang by a difference of 5,000 votes, Liu took up a post as a legislator.

Despite Taitung’s KMT inclination and Huang’s popularity as the Taitung magistrate, Liu still stands a chance against his opponent. Out of the 16 magistrate elections held in Taitung, there have been 13 KMT candidates elected, without any DPP candidates claiming victory.

During Huang’s term of office as Taitung magistrate, he solved the Taitung waste incinerator crisis by stopping the construction process and held a hot air balloon fiesta during summers, which succeeded in bringing in tourists. However, Huang’s popularity has been hurt by accusations of corruption; Huang was accused of taking commissions from pharmacists in August 2008. This is the fourth time that Liu has run for Taitung magistrate, after putting in much effort to improve the living conditions for Taitung citizens as a legislator, such as assisting in the electrification of the Hualien-Taitung Railway Line. Liu also visited Taitung many times over the past years, soliciting the support of the Taitung citizens and aboriginal population. Ten Candidates Vie to Be Kinmen Magistrate The 10 candidates running for Kinmen magistrate in the 9-in-1 Elections mark the highest number of nominated candidates in Taiwan’s electoral history. Out of the 10, two experienced politicians have been more frequently mentioned in the press: incumbent KMT Kinmen Magistrate Li Wo-shih (���U�h) and former independent Legislator Chen Fu-hai (���֮�). The DPP did not nominate a candidate.

Li used to be a legislative assistant and two-time county councilor. On the other hand, Chen held the offices of town councilman, town mayor and county councilor. Chen previously sought re-election as a legislator but lost to KMT nominee Yang Ying-xiong (������) by a margin of slightly more than 300 votes.