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KMT may change Keelung candidate: Chu

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said yesterday that Kuomintang (KMT) headquarters is actively considering whether to nominate another candidate to run in the Keelung mayoral race.

On Monday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) called on his party to reconsider its candidate for the Keelung race in order to secure a solid victory.

Last month, the KMT's running candidate, Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), was brought in for questioning over corruption allegations. Prosecutors attempted three times to detain him, but the speaker was released on bail by the district court. Huang maintained that the allegations were part of an attempt to sabotage his chances of winning the race.

When asked for his opinion on Hau's remarks, Chu said that a candidate's image is very important, and considering the circumstances, KMT headquarters should consider whether or not to nominate another.

Chu told reporters that as vice chairman of the KMT, he is responsible for assisting campaigns in Taoyuan and Hsinchu, but that he also hopes to see the KMT secure a victory in Keelung.

Hau, on the other hand, is responsible for campaigns in Taipei, Keelung, Hualien and Kinmen.

Chu reiterated that cooperation between New Taipei and Taipei will continue, but that Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) needs to continue working on getting grassroots support.

Meanwhile, KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said that the KMT will do its best to secure the mayoral office in Keelung.

Chen admitted that the KMT is facing difficulty in Keelung, but that it will work hard to not let its supporters down. The spokesman did not, however, say whether the ruling party was reconsidering its candidate.

Rumored, Running Candidate

In response to reports that the ruling party is preparing to field him instead of Huang, Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功), advisor on the National Security Council, said that he has made no plans to run in the election and that he has not been approached by anyone to do so.

Meanwhile, Huang told reporters that he interpreted Hau's remarks as a form of “tough love.”

When asked if he will forge ahead with the campaign following the drop in his ratings, Huang did not give a direct answer, only saying that he would prove to the citizens of Keelung that he is innocent.

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