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Former KMT magistrate maintains thin lead in legislative race in Taiwan's Hualien

'King of Hualien' Fu Kun-chi mixes up Hualien's legislative race as independent candidate

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Hualien legislative candidates Hsiao (left), Fu (center), Huang (right).

Hualien legislative candidates Hsiao (left), Fu (center), Huang (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The latest poll from TVBS News on Friday (Dec. 13) revealed Hualien County's 2020 legislative election to be a tight race.

According to the data, former Hualien magistrate and ex-Kuomintang (KMT) member Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) led the poll with a 29.3 percent approval rating, followed closely by the current legislator, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Hsiao Bi-khim, (蕭美琴) 27.8 percent.

Rounding out third is KMT nominee Huang Chi-jia (黃啟嘉) with a 16 percent approval rating.

The plot has thickened since last month, when Fu announced a bid for the January 11 legislative elections. He was released from prison in April after having served a reduced sentence of seven months for stock market manipulation.

Fu left the KMT in 2009 to run for magistrate because the party had refused to nominate him owing to his conviction. He then won two municipal elections in a row before beginning to serve his sentence in 2018.

The three-term former legislator and two-term former magistrate has been enjoying massive support in the east coast county among local communities and farmer and fisher associations. Fu's wife is serving as the current magistrate of Hualien.

As for Hsiao, after spending years building grassroots support in the KMT stronghold of Hualien, she won the 2016 legislative election with more than 50 percent of the vote and was dubbed the “Green Miracle.” A former diplomat, this election will be an evaluation of her performance at the local level over the past four years.

Huang saw much of his support snatched up by Fu after the latter joined the race, even though Huang has continued to claim legitimacy as the KMT-nominated candidate. A political newcomer, he is relying on the party's endorsement and a reputation stemming from his decades of practice as a local physician.