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KMT concludes Taipei City primary

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The ruling Kuomintang yesterday concluded its primary for the year-end Taipei City Council elections, with 33 candidates emerging as winners.

Of the winners, 22 are incumbent council members who are seeking reelection, while three others have also served in the city parliamentary body, the KMT said.

The winners, who will need the final endorsement from the party's Central Standing Committee, defeated their rivals in a primary conducted between June 18 and July 1, the KMT said. It added that 51 party members participated in the internal race.

A total of 62 council seats representing six electoral districts of the city will be up for grabs in the November elections. Taipei will also elect its mayor at the same time.

Four other municipalities — Xinbei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung — will also elect their mayors and council members in November.

Meanwhile, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and Premier Wu Den-yih went to Kaohsiung to stump for the KMT candidates in the southern city.

In Taichung, the reelection-seeking Mayor Jason Hu received backing from a local heavyweight Liao Liao-yi, who had previously shown reluctance to declare support.

Hu, accompanied by KMT Secretary General King Pu-tsung, visited Liao at his Fengyuan, Taichung County home.

After the visit, King declared that Liao has agreed to serve as the director of Hu's campaign.

The KMT has had difficulties consolidating local support for its mayoral candidates, according to the United Evening News.

Observers were cited by the paper as saying Liao is only one of many local heavyweights in the Taichung area, and the KMT has yet to convince the others.

The newspaper also noted that Liao's backing may be superficial, as it remains to be seen whether he is really throwing full support behind Hu.

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