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March 30, 2017

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Western DPP candidates for Legislature ride on Tsai's coattails

KMT's Slight Edge in Nantou

The election battle in Taiwan's only inland county is not as clear-cut as that in the two southern counties.

The electorate is composed of 42-percent blue and 35-percent green supporters. KMT's candidates are leading in polls, but with DPP Chairwoman Tsai's coattails, green candidates are not falling far behind.

In the county's legislative District 1, it is the KMT's Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) versus the DPP's Chang Kuo-hsin (張國鑫). Their popularity index stands at 57 percent and 43 percent, respectively, according to Exchange of Wisdom.

Ma is currently in her legislator post for the second term. Her father, formerly a provincial councilor and Puli Township governor, has rooted influence in local politics. Ma is also a protege of Nantou native and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who has offered a great deal of assistance to KMT candidates in his hometown.

The DPP's Chang lacks the support network enjoyed by Ma, but his education credentials — a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University — is a boost to his ability to attracting swing votes who make up 20 to 23 percent of the electorate.

In the county's District 2, it is the KMT's Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) against the DPP's Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯). Their popularity index stands at 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Incumbent legislator Hsu, who had served as Nantou City mayor and councilor, comes from a family with deep political connections. Her father was Nantou City's local representative chairman and the emcee of the local temple.

Hsu herself has a wide range of experiences, ranging from Miss Universe contestant to head accountant in her father's business and a liaison between local heavyweights.

The DPP's Tsai is not a force to be neglected either. Being elected in the Legislature for five consecutive terms, Tsai has extensive experience in politics. The warhorse enjoys high publicity in the nation due to his frequent political talk show appearances on TV.

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