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September 26, 2017

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Time for the opposition to name Taipei mayor hopeful

When a game is over and the score is official, the referee will typically blow a whistle and announce the winner. Last night, Sean Lien (連勝文), the son of former Vice President Lien Chan (連戰), won the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) primary to emerge as the party's candidate for the mayoral election in Taipei in November. So, let's blow the whistle.

The 44-year-old businessman beat 59-year-old veteran lawmaker Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and city councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) in the primary to become the KMT's candidate, garnering 10,647 of the 15,758 votes cast. The selection of the party hopeful in the primary combined the voting results (30 percent) and an opinion poll (70 percent) that was conducted earlier this week and released right after the ballot results. According to information published by the KMT, Sean Lien also enjoyed a comfortable lead in the opinion poll with 48.19 percent, followed by Ting with 35.02 percent, Tsai 10.34 percent and Chung 6.45 percent.

Still, the KMT's rising political star will have to struggle to convince potential electors including a large part of his own political base — to succeed the KMT's Hau Lung-bin, who is approaching the end of his second four-year term and is ineligible to stand for re-election under Taiwan's term limits. One of his major challenges is that the well-educated Sean Lien, who presents a friendly image to the people while benefiting from abundant financial support and strong personal connections from his family, is still considered to be inexperienced by a majority of Taipei residents.

The good news is that he doesn't need to worry for the time being because the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has yet to select a candidate for the election or hold any primary to decide its nominee. How come?

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