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Luo Wen-jia to run for magistrate of Taipei

A top protege of President Chen Shui-bian, Luo Wen-jia will stand for magistrate of Taipei, Taiwan's most populous county.

Luo, chairman of the Hakka Affairs Council, has yet to declare candidacy, but a former senior Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker said yesterday the president is backing his protege against Lee Ying-yuan.

Lee, Cabinet secretary-general, has long declared his candidacy for the most coveted magistracy. He ran unsuccessfully against Ma Ying-jeou for mayor of Taipei in 2002.

Elections of magistrates and mayors of cities with status on a par with the county are scheduled for the end of this year, but political parties have to nominate candidates in May.

"Chen wants Luo to control the county of Taipei before getting ready for the 2016 presidential election," said Shen, who was urged to run for mayor of Taipei after he had lost his legislative reelection at the end of last year.

The president does not want Luo to seek the mayoralty of Taipei next year, Shen said. "He (the president) thinks nobody in the DPP can win the city," he added.

Asked if there is going to be an in-fight, Lee said he believes the DPP will make a wise decision on the nomination of a candidate for the county magistrate.

If there are more than two contenders, the DPP will call a primary only after the party fails to choose through consultation one most likely to win.

With the strong backing of the president, Luo is more likely to get the nomination without the primary.

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