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August 20, 2017

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Candidates hold massive rallies nationwide

Mayoral candidates wrapped up their campaigning with massive rallies last night, with tight races in Taipei and Xinbei still hanging in the balance.

Reelection-seeking incumbent Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin from the ruling Kuomintang appealed to sway votes by holding a rally that stressed his campaign's main theme portraying the city as "home."

He is also banking on good weather to encourage more KMT supporters to go to the polls, believing that a high voter turnout would boost his bid. Weathermen did forecast fair weather for today.

His contender Su Tseng-chang from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party is calling for change, asking voters to give him a chance to lead a Taipei that would outshine the one under Hau.

"May God and the people be my witnesses. Let the citizens give me a chance and give me support," Su said as he prayed at a temple in the city.

He reiterated his pledge to finish his four-year mayoral term if elected after remarks by a top DPP official had sparked fresh speculation on his 2012 presidential bid.

The KMT and DPP candidates in Xinbei both chose Banchiao City as the host of their last campaign assemblies, with the venues of their activities only a few hundred meters apart.

The Xinbei race is considered to be tightest among all five mayoral elections taking place today.

Eric Chu's task is to maintain the KMT's rule in Taipei County — which will be renamed as Xinbei special municipality — whose outgoing magistrate Chou Hsi-wei from his party has been constantly rated as the worst among all local government chiefs.

His DPP rival Tsai Ing-wen's pre-election day rally called for voters to come out to bring Xinbei into a "new era."

Tsai, chairwoman of the DPP, was also dogged by speculation on her presidential bid, but she reiterated her commitment to Xinbei for the next four, and even eight years.

President Ma Ying-jeou showed full support for all five KMT candidates in the mayoral race. He shuttled from north to south to stump for all five hopefuls in eight hours, the United Evening News said.

First Lady Christine Chou made telephone calls to the wives of all five KMT candidates to convey the president and the KMT's support.

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