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Taiwan's Nantou prepares for legislative by-election on Saturday

The race in Nantou County's 2nd district called after previous legislator elected county executive

DPP candidate Tsai Pei-hui (center) shakes hands with KMT candidate Lin Ming-chen (right) and independent candidate Chen Tsong-chian (left). (Nan...

DPP candidate Tsai Pei-hui (center) shakes hands with KMT candidate Lin Ming-chen (right) and independent candidate Chen Tsong-chian (left). (Nan...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Voters in Nantou County’s second district will go to the polls on Saturday (March 4) to elect a new representative to the Legislative Yuan.

The by-election is being held after Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) was elected as the chief executive of Nantou County in late 2022. Hsu, a member of the KMT, was elected as a legislator in a 2015 by-election, and vacated the seat to take her new position as county executive.

The two primary candidates vying for office in Saturday’s election are Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧), representing the DPP, and Lin Ming-chen (林明溱), who hopes to hold on to the seat for the KMT.

Lin was the previous executive of Nantou County, having served from 2014 to 2022 until Hsu’s election to the office. Lin also has experience as the legislator for Nantou’s second district. He was elected in 2008 when the constituency was formed and served until he was elected county executive in 2014.

Tsai also has experience as a member of the Legislative Yuan, having served from 2016 to 2020. As a legislator who was nominated by the DPP based on proportional representation, she did not represent a specific district. However, Tsai previously campaigned in Nantou's first district for a legislative seat in 2016. In that election, she lost to the KMT’s Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) who has held the seat since 2009.

On Thursday (March 2), Lin received an endorsement from Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘). Touting Gou's endorsement and his previous experience in office representing Nantou, Lin has expressed confidence that he will be re-elected to his former office.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other notable DPP politicians made their way to Nantou on Friday (Mar. 3) to drum up support for Tsai Pei-hui on the eve of the election.

Since the two current legislative constituencies in Nantou were established in 2008, the county has never been represented in the Legislative Yuan by members of the DPP. In previous legislative elections, the KMT has taken about 55% of the vote share on average in both of Nantou’s two districts, with the DPP taking between 40% and 46%.

While the DPP hopes that Tsai can gain the confidence and support of people in Nantou in this year’s by-election, the KMT is eager to hold onto the legislative seat in what it considers a reliably blue county.

Despite the KMT’s confidence after their strong showing in last year’s municipal elections, Saturday’s by-election will not change the DPP’s majority in the Legislative Yuan.