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June 24, 2017

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Taichung mayoral election to be indicator of national trend: Hu

TAIPEI -- Taichung's Kuomintang (KMT) Mayor Jason Hu, who is seeking re-election this year, said yesterday that the city's mayoral election is an important one as it will serve as an indicator of Taiwan's wider political future.

"It will be difficult to gain momentum in the 2016 presidential election" if the KMT loses the Taichung mayoral election on Nov. 29, Hu said.

The Taichung election, therefore, is crucial if the KMT wants to retain power after the 2016 presidential election, he said.

The Nov. 29 local elections in the municipal city of Taichung and two counties — Nantou and Changhua — in the central Taiwan area, have been widely regarded as crucial in deciding the political map of the country.

On the map, the KMT-led "pan-blue" camp usually dominates the counties and cities in northern Taiwan, while the "pan-green" alliance headed by the largest opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) controls southern Taiwan.

With the approach of the local government elections, the KMT and DPP are both fielding strong candidates in central Taiwan.

The DPP has nominated Legislator Lin Chia-lung to run for Taichung mayor, former lawmaker Lee Wen-chung to compete in the Nantou County magistrate election, and Legislator Wei Ming-ku to run in Changhu County.

Lin, 50, is regarded as a strong competitor because of his persistent efforts to gain grassroots support in Taichung over the past 10 years since he lost to Hu in the 2005 Taichung mayoral election.

Hu, meanwhile, had served as Taichung mayor for two terms from 2001-2010 before the city was upgraded to a special municipality in 2010. That same year, he won Taichung's first municipal mayoral election against the the DPP's Su Chia-chyuan.

In Nantou, Legislator Lin Ming-chen has been nominated as the KMT's candidate, with the support of Vice President Wu Den-yih, a Nantou native.

So far, the KMT has not yet named its candidate for Changhua County magistrate, a position that is currently held by the party's Cho Po-yuan.

On Nov. 29, Taiwanese will go the polls to elect mayors and councilors of the special municipalities; county magistrates and councilors; city mayors and councilors; township administrators and councilors; and borough and village chiefs.

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