TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was leading by a three-to-one margin in the mayoral by-election in Kaohsiung on Saturday (Aug. 15).
At 5 p.m., one hour after counting started, Chen had received more than 300,000 votes, while his KMT rival, Kaohsiung City Councilor Li Mei-jhen (李眉蓁), had received 100,000, according to cable station TVBS. Taiwan People’s Party candidate, Kaohsiung City Councilor Wu Yi-jheng (吳益政), was a distant third with about 16,000 votes.
The DPP controlled the southern industrial port city from 1998 until the surprising 2018 defeat by Chen to populist KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜). However, the new mayor’s grandiose promises and controversial statements soon lost him popularity, accelerating after his defeat in the Jan. 11 presidential election.
He was trounced in a recall vote on June 6 which necessitated the organization of the by-election, which he was not allowed to participate in. It was only on the final day of campaigning, Friday (Aug. 14), that he appeared at a rally to show his support for Li.
Kaohsiung City had 2.3 million eligible voters, with the DPP camp estimating early on that about 42 percent of those voters had turned out to cast a ballot Saturday, cable station TVBS reported.