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Sean Lien puts on 'war shirt' at campaign rally

The Kuomintang's (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) yesterday made a great show of putting on the campaign vest he wore when he was shot four years ago, declaring his determination to run for the much-coveted position.

The eldest son of KMT bigwig Lien Chan (連戰) was shot in the face when he was campaigning for a New Taipei City councilor candidate in Yonghe in 2010.

Attending the KMT's introductory activity for its Taipei mayor and councilor nominees, Lien seemed full of confidence and thanked President Ma Ying-jeou for rooting for him, even though yesterday was Ma's birthday.

Regarding his motivation to enter Taiwan's political scene, Lien stated that he often asked himself why he chose the “difficult path.”

“It is because I am determined to serve the people; I myself have received so much warmth and care from people over the past four years,” said Lien. “The reason I'm wearing this 'war shirt' is that I am determined to fight for Taiwan fearlessly,” Lien declared.

The mayoral aspirant also expressed his gratitude to society for its encouragement. “This is why I wanted to give back to society, and stand up for the people. I am not doing this with fury; I really want to do something for the people,” said Lien, repeating his initial motivation to become Taipei mayor.

Not Bothered by Opinion Poll: Lien

Lien also said he was not bothered by the recent opinion polls that showed him trailing his main rival by at least 10 percent.

Speaking at a KMT meeting, Lien said he will put forward his proposed policies for various groups of citizens according to plan and reiterated his resolve to stick to his campaign, regardless of what the polls say.

Three recent media polls have put support for Lien at 24-32 percent, while showing 42-44 percent support for independent candidate Ko Wen-je, an outspoken 54-year-old surgeon.

Another independent candidate, former lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung, 74, has 8-15 percent of public support, according to the polls.

Lien, the 44-year-old son of former Vice President Lien Chan, said at Sunday's meeting at Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls High School that he has resolved to carry out his campaign plans and is not perturbed by the opinion polls ahead of the November election.

In a show of support for Lien and the party's city councilor candidates, President Ma and incumbent Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin also attended the meeting.

In a formal gesture of support, Ma handed over a KMT flag to Lien and urged the approximately 2,000 party members present to stand in unity behind the candidate's campaign.

Ma, who was Taipei mayor from 1998 to 2006, said the KMT will maintain its usual good administration of the capital city and he mentioned KMT initiatives such as the public transportation EasyCard and the garbage bag fee.

EasyCard is now widely used not just for public transportation fees but also for payment at convenience stores, while the policy of separating recyclables and garbage has extended the life of the city's main landfill site by 40 years, Ma said.

Meanwhile, in response to reporters' questions about the best campaign strategy for Taipei, Mayor Hau said it is important to gain the support of the city's young people.

Hau said the KMT could draw support from all corners of society, but the key lies in organizing and maximizing its resources. The Taipei mayoral election and other local government polls will be held Nov. 29.

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