TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for Kaohsiung mayor, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), has admitted defeat against the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) candidate, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), just before 9 p.m. Saturday evening.
Han received 652,161 votes or 53.14 percent, while Chen received 555,450 votes or 45.61 percent, according to preliminary figures by the Central Election Commission, based on 1,413 out of 1,823 polling stations.
The city, once mostly known for its polluting industrial complexes, has been ruled by the DPP for 20 years, while in Kaohsiung County, which merged with the city in 2010, the party ran the local government for more than three decades.
Chen, 53, had been a well-known legislator until his recent resignation to campaign full-time.
However, in the final weeks of the campaign, opposition Kuomintang candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), 61, gained increased momentum with his promises to make Kaohsiung the wealthiest city in Taiwan and to increase its population from the present 2.77 million to 5 million.
The use of hiphop songs in his campaign and of his trademark bald head, as well as public appearances by his daughter, reportedly attracted more young voters. At his final rally Friday afternoon, 277 bald supporters showed up to symbolize the city’s population.
Two independent candidates, Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳), a former Taipei City councilor for the New Party, and former legislator Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴), received less than one percent of the vote each.
The new city mayors, county magistrates, city and county councilors are scheduled to be sworn in on December 25.