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Uncertainties seen in Kaohsiung, Taipei councilor speaker elections

Uncertainties seen in Kaohsiung, Taipei councilor speaker elections

Political infighting continued to cast a shadow of uncertainty over the Taipei and Kaohsiung City Council speakership elections yesterday, just one day before the votes were scheduled to take place.
In Taipei, the insistence of one Kuomintang councilor to take part in the Taipei City Council speakership race raised doubts that the KMT's nominees would win the council speaker and vice speaker seats even though the pan-blue camp, composed of the KMT, People First Party and New Party, holds a strong majority in the body.
In Kaohsiung, keen competition was anticipated as seven independent Kaohsiung City councilors held the balance of power in the assembly. The KMT and PFP hold a total of 21 seats while the pan-green camp composed of the Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan Solidarity Union held 16 in the 44-seat body.
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was in Kaohsiung yesterday to discuss with party councilors how to win the tight battle for the speakership.
The KMT proposed that its nominee for speaker, Chuang Chi-wang, choose an independent as his deputy to woo votes, and only if he could not find would the party nominate a councilor from the PFP or another political party for vice speaker.
As of press time, the KMT had not disclosed who would run with Chuang. Regardless of the outcome, however, Ma stressed the party absolutely opposed corruption and vote buying in the election.
Observers regarded the Kaohsiung City Council speaker race as an important test for Ma and an opportunity for him to win back his high popularity in the party after the KMT unexpectedly lost the Kaohsiung mayoral race to the DPP's Chen Chu (陳菊).
In a situation that could help the pan-blue camp, the DPP was facing internal dissent of its own in Kaohsiung, with DPP Councilor Lin Wu-chung, nominated as deputy to DPP Councilor Chou Ling-wen, recently saying he would vote for himself as speaker.
He made the surprising announcement after independents inclined to cooperate with the DPP stunned the party by asking for the speaker seat in any partnership.
After negotiations yesterday, however, Chou and Lin remained the DPP's final nominees, but Lin believed it would be difficult for them to prevail because the KMT seemed to have more support.
Back in Taipei, KMT Councilor Chiang Nai-shin's insistence on participating in the race continued to cause a stir within the party, with the KMT having nominated Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠) and Chen Chin-chiang for speaker and vice speaker.
Holding firm in his conviction, Chiang reportedly declined to meet Ma yesterday after Ma reiterated his expectation that Chiang withdraw from the race.
But after the New Party's four newly-elected councilors announced they would support the KMT nominees, it was possible Chiang's gambit would not undermine the party's hopes for victory.
Without Chiang, the KMT and its People First Party and New Party allies still control 29 seats in the 52-seat assembly while the DPP and the TSU hold only 20 seats.
Another two to three KMT councilors were reportedly going to support Chiang, however, which could provide an opening for non-KMT candidates to win.


Updated : 2021-02-27 03:44 GMT+08:00