TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An hour after ballot counting started, the race for mayor of Kaohsiung, looked extremely tight, with cable TV stations alternating between giving a lead to ruling Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and his Kuomintang rival, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
When a preliminary result after more than 100,000 votes counted emerged, the two candidates were within a percentage distance of each other, and stayed there for a considerable time. Chen, 53, and Han, 61, both former legislators, went back and forth taking the lead.
The southern port city is widely considered a stronghold for the DPP, which supplied its mayors for the past 20 years. The last KMT mayor of Kaohsiung was present KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih, who lost the 1998 mayoral election.
By 5:10 p.m. Saturday, Han had received 155,314 votes, and Chen 149,321 votes, according to cable station TVBS.
The vote in Kaohsiung, with its 2.77 million, was seen as symbolic for the whole country after two-and-a-half years of rule by President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP.