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June 28, 2017

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Hu wins in KMT internal primary poll

TAIPEI--Taiwan's ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) has determined that incumbent Taichung Mayor Jason Hu will be its candidate for the mayoral election in Taichung in late 2014 after conducting an internal primary poll for the post.

If the 65-year-old Hu is re-elected in November, the central city, commonly seen as a traditional stronghold for the KMT, will be under his reign for 17 years.

The KMT will try to highlight to voters Hu's achievement in building Taichung into an international metropolis, in regards to both hardware and software, during his 13-year mayorship.

Except for four years between 1997 and 2001, Taichung has always been governed by a member of the ruling Kuomintang, in recent decades.

In the last mayoral election in 2010, however, when Taichung City and Taichung County were merged to form one big special municipality, Hu edged the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP)'s Su Jia-chyuan by a mere 2.2 percent margin, or fewer than 32,000 votes.

Which party carries the city of Taichung in December is important because the two major political parties will each be favored to win two of the five big special municipalities that account for about 60 percent of the country's population.

The KMT will be the frontrunner in northern Taiwan's Taipei and New Taipei cities while DPP incumbents will be favorites in Kaohsiung and Tainan cities in the south.

A DPP gain in Taichung would likely give the party a major boost in the presidential election in 2016.

DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung, who will challenge Hu in the year-end election again after a nine-year hiatus, first congratulated his opponent and then added that he will do his utmost to win the race.

"Change is already a common consensus across the party lines," the 50-year-old Lin said.

After losing over 87,000 ballots to Hu in 2005, Lin has been working hard at the grassroots level for 10 years, hoping to win more votes in the original Taichung County.

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