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Taiwan KMT officials deny rift between Taipei and Xinbei mayoral candidates

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Kuomintang officials on Sunday rejected fears that Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s recent problems would expand to affect the ruling party’s electoral chances in neighboring Taipei County.
A court ordered the detention last week of a former Taipei City Government official on suspicion of involvement in the overpricing of flowers and plants for the capital’s Xinsheng Overpass renovation project.
The scandal has overshadowed Hau’s bid for re-election in the November 27 elections, prompting falling opinion poll ratings and even calls for his withdrawal from the race.
Since Hau has been waging a joint campaign with former Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu, the mayoral candidate in neighboring Taipei County, to be renamed Xinbei City, commentators have argued the latter’s election campaign might be in trouble too.
Chu told reporters Sunday that the two cities could not be split, rejecting reports his campaign team was reevaluating its cooperation with Hau to limit the impact of the overpricing scandal. The Xinbei candidate denied that his joint appearances with the Taipei mayor no longer added any benefit.
Hau said he would continue to work with Chu while doing his best to restore public confidence in his administration.
KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin said the suggestions of a separate campaign for both candidates could be an opposition tactic to try and create rifts within the ruling camp. President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou would raise his profile on the campaign trail by the end of the month, reports said.
On the opposition Democratic Progressive Party side, officials downplayed a comment by the wife of Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang that he would run for president in 2012 if he lost the city election.
The former premier is one of the most popular frontrunners for the nation’s top political office, but promised not to run for president if he was elected mayor of Taipei. Another prominent DPP presidential possibility is party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who is running against Chu for Xinbei Mayor.
Registrations of mayoral candidates for the elections take place this week from September 13 thru 17, the Central Election Commission said. On November 27, voters will elect mayors in Taipei, Xinbei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Tainan, as well as a total of more than 300 city councilors.

Updated : 2021-07-29 23:33 GMT+08:00