Democratic Opposition to gain in local vote

Elections for County Magistrates and City Mayors

Washington, 27 November 1997

On Saturday, 29 November 1997, elections will be held in Taiwan for 18 positions as County magistrates and 5 city mayor posts. The pro-independence democratic opposition is expected to make significant gains, and strongly erode the Kuomintang's traditional hold on power.

Eighty candidates will be vying for positions as mayors and county chiefs in 23 cities and counties. In the last elections in 1993, the Kuomintang took 15 seats while the DPP got six. Politicians from other parties took the remaining two.

Predictions for the upcoming elections are that the Kuomintang will barely hold on to half the seats, and that the DPP will win at least ten position, among which the heavily populated areas, such as Taipei County and Tainan City and County.

In 1993, the Kuomintang still won 47 per cent of the vote. This could drop to well below 45 per cent this time around, while the Democratic Progressive Party is slated to increase its share to past 40 percent, leading to the possibility that the DPP will surpass the Kuomintang for the first time in history.

Important races are:

  • Taipei County, the area surrounding Taipei City. Here the DPP's Magistrate You Ching is ending two succesful terms, and according to the rules cannot run for a third term. DPP Lawyer / legislator Su Chen-chang will try to succeed him, but the KMT is trying hard to regain this important and populous county (3.5 million inhabitants)
  • Taoyuan County, just south of Taipei, where incumbent DPP-Magistrate and Women's Rights leader Lu Hsiu-lien is running for re-election.
  • Tainan County, in southern Taiwan, where DPP-incumbent Dr. "Mark" Chen Tan-san looks like a winner.
  • Tainan City, where Taiwan Independence leader George Chang is running as the DPP-candidate against six other candidates, three from the KMT, two independent candidates (including former DPP-legislator Hsu Tien-tsai), and one from the right-wing New Party.
  • Ilan County, which has a long history of DPP-Magistrates, and has become a showcase for good and clean government. The DPP's Mr. Liu Shou-chen is trying to continue this tradition, but the Kuomintang has fielded a strong candidate to try to wrestle Ilan away from the DPP.
  • Taichung City, where the two major contenders are running neck and neck. The DPP candidate is Provincial Assembly member Ms. Chang Wen-ying, a popular candidate with broad grassroots support.
  • Other opposition candidates are:
  • Mr. Li Ching-yung in Keelung City
  • Mr. Liao Ta-lin in Yun-lin County
  • Mrs. Ong Chin-chu in Chang-hwa County
  • Mr. Su-chia-chuan in Ping-tung County
  • Incumbent Yu Cheng-hsien in Kaohsiung County
  • Mr. Lin Chung-nan in Nan-tou County
  • Mr. Lin Kuang-hua in Hsin-chu County

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