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September 23, 2017

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Mayors of KMT-ruled cities stand united, but to what end?

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Ahead of the upcoming seven-in-one elections at year-end, the heads of Kuomintang-administered municipalities appear to be acting in unison.

Following Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (胡志強) announcement that the monthly minimum wage for employees of their city governments are to be increased, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) announced yesterday that parental benefits will be increased for residents of his city.

That national wages are so low is a national humiliation, Hau agreed during an interview, while Chu echoed his sentiment by saying "it is a fact that Taiwan's wages are too low."

Hau explained that increasing wages is an effective prescription for boosting the economy, urging the central government to re-evaluate the nation's minimum wage standards.

Yesterday at the Legislature, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that the government has not excluded the possibility of readjusting the minimum wage standard next year, but that the Executive Yuan has to respect the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee's decision on whether or not it ought to be readjusted.

Hau has served two consecutive terms in the mayoral office and therefore will not seek re-election, while Hu has already announced his bid to run for another term as mayor of Taichung. Chu, on the other hand, has yet to announce whether he intends to seek re-election or not.

Hau suggested that no primaries be held for the Taichung mayoral election, which would effectively allow Hu's re-election bid to go unchallenged within the ruling party. Hu responded by saying that Hau's suggestion reflects majority opinion on the matter.

According to local reports, Hau's proposal backfired and drew anger from KMT members (high up on the headquarters' ladder) who argued that the mayor had spoken out of line.

It has been widely speculated that the KMT will see spectacular defeat in the seven-in-one elections, given the administration's spectacularly low poll ratings.

Hau recently said that the chairman of the KMT should step down if the ruling party is defeated in the upcoming elections, and that without a victory in 2014, meaning the seven-in-one elections, the KMT will not see a victory in 2016, the year of the presidential election.

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