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KMT Taipei mayoral candidates hit the trail

TAIPEI -- The two leading candidates for the Kuomintang (KMT) nomination in this year's mayoral race in Taipei campaigned actively over the weekend, seeking support in a public opinion poll that will help determine the winner.

Veteran legislator Ting Shou-chung invited Taipei Computer Association president T.H. Tung and media celebrity Tsai Shih-ping to stump for him at a campaign rally on Sunday, the day the two-day opinion poll began.

The person who pushed the Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance Act through the legislative process in 1996, Ko Tsai Yu-chiung, also showed up in support of Ting.

She described Ting as a person “who has always stood on the side of the grassroots and socially disadvantaged” and said he was the only lawmaker to strongly back her two-decade campaign to promote the act when many others tried to block it.

The 59-year-old Ting, a legislator since 1990 except for three years from 2002-05, expressed his gratitude to the many friends who showed up to support him.

“Facing the enormous resources of my competitor, I will climb up against the wind,” Ting said.

He was alluding to Sean Lien, the 44-year-old son of former Vice President Lien Chan who is generally seen as a rising star in the party and the frontrunner in the race.

Lien, a member of the KMT's Central Committee and a former chairman of EasyCard Corp., campaigned for public support along with his wife Tsai Yi-shan at a charity gala in Neihu District on Sunday.

While Tsai used her warm smile to stump for support, Lien promoted his vision of rebalancing the city's development by revitalizing western Taipei and upgrading the already vibrant eastern part of the city.

He also trumpeted a list of advisers he has recruited to help him develop policies to achieve the vision. They include former Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan, former Taiwan Stock Exchange Chairman Chi Schive, co-founder of sina.com Ben Tsiang and former Education Minister Wu Ching-ji.

Lien said the team will help him address such issues as disaster control and prevention, urban renewal, financial affairs, and culture and innovation.

Though the primary campaign has offered little mudslinging, the candidates traded barbs Sunday.

Lien described Ting as an older generation politician who is out of touch with the times and lacks imagination, cannot think against the grain and is not open to creativity.

Ting countered that Lien's idea of relocating Taipei City Hall to the older western part of the city was a waste of money. “Bad policy is worse than corruption,” he said.

The KMT primary for the Taipei mayoral nomination consists of a public opinion poll, being conducted Sunday and Monday, and a vote of party members in the city on April 19.

The poll will account for 70 percent of the final tally and the vote the remaining 30 percent. The nominee will be announced on April 23.

Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan and City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping are also vying for the nomination but are seen as having little chance of prevailing.

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