Washington, 29 November 1997
On Saturday, 29 November 1997, elections were held in Taiwan for
18 positions as County magistrates and 5 city mayor posts. The
pro-independence democratic opposition won a major victory by
winning 12 positions, doubling the seats they now hold.
Even more importantly, the opposition candidates won 44 percent of
the vote, for the first time in historysurpassing
the Kuomintang -- which dropped to 42 percent.
The results show a continuing erosion in the Kuomintang's
traditional hold on power, and has significant implications for
future national-level elections: The opposition DPP is coming within
striking distance to win the Legislative Yuan in 1999 and even the
Presidential elections in 2000.
Eighty candidates vied 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. In 1993, the Kuomintang still
won 47 per cent of the vote. See separate
tabel with facts and figures.
Important victories were:
- Taipei County, the area surrounding Taipei City. Here
the DPP's Magistrate You Ching was ending two succesful terms, and
according to the rules cannot run for a third term. DPP Lawyer /
legislator Su Chen-chang is now succeeding him. In a
hard-fought campaign he won some 570,000 votes against his KMT
opponent's 540,000. The important heavily-populated county is an
important stronghold for the opposition.
- Tainan City, where Taiwan Independence leader George
Chang, former chairman of the World United Formosans for
Independence, ran 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.
- Tainan County, in southern Taiwan, where DPP-incumbent
Dr. Mark Chen Tan-san was a sure winner.
- Taoyuan County, just south of Taipei, where incumbent
DPP-Magistrate and Women's Rights leader Lu Hsiu-lien won
- Ilan County, which has a long history of
DPP-Magistrates, and has become a showcase for good and clean
government. With his hard-won victory, the DPP's Mr. Liu
Shou-chen is now continuing this tradition. The Kuomintang
fielded a strong candidate to try to wrestle Ilan away from the
DPP, but was not successful.
- Taichung City, where the DPP candidate, Provincial
Assembly member Ms. Chang Wen-ying, was a popular
candidate with broad grassroots support.
In two places independent candidates leaning towards the
opposition won: Mr. Peng Pai-hsien, a former DPP-legislator,
who ran as an independent Nantou County, and Mrs. Chang Po-ya
in Chiayi City.
Other opposition winners are:
- Mr. Li Ching-yung in Keelung City
- Mr. Su-chia-chuan in Pingtung County
- Incumbent Yu Cheng-hsien in Kaohsiung County
- Mr. Liao Yung-lai in Taichung County
- Mr. Lin Kuang-hua in Hsinchu County
- Mr. Tsai Jen-chien in Hsinchu City
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