Vice premier among candidates tipped for Kaohsiung mayoral by-election

Taipei, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) has emerged as the governing Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) favored candidate for the Aug. 15 by-election to replace recalled Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the party’s Kaohsiung branch leader said Friday.

Chen was one of several potential candidates named Friday as the Central Election Commission (CEC) certified the results of a June 6 recall vote to remove Han from office and scheduled an Aug. 15 by-election for a new mayor to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in December 2022.

Despite Chen’s loss to Han in the 2018 mayoral race, DPP Kaohsiung Branch Chairman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said Chen would be a strong candidate based both on his national government experience and personal ties to Kaohsiung.

More broadly, Chao noted that the DPP had lost its majority in the city council in the 2018 local elections, but rebounded in 2020 to sweep all eight of the city’s seats in the national Legislature, which he said gave it confidence going into the by-election.

The opposition Kuomintang (KMT), meanwhile, has encouraged Wu I-ding (吳怡玎), a 40-year-old Kaohsiung native who was elected as an at-large legislator earlier this year, to jump into the race, though other candidates are also being considered.

In an interview Friday, KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) said the party will consult with its local leadership before settling on a candidate.

Of Taiwan’s smaller parties, the centrist Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) is reported to be considering some form of cooperation with the KMT in the election, though it said it remains open to other options.

The TPP will work with any party to support a “local, talented and politically independent” candidate, TPP spokeswoman Yang Bao-jhen (楊寶楨) said Friday.

Meanwhile, the DPP-aligned New Power Party (NPP) said it would support Chen’s candidacy on the condition that he first resign as deputy premier.

The insistence that Chen resign his position before entering the race echoed previous criticism of Han, whose decision to run for president while still serving as mayor was cited by activists as one of the motivations behind their campaign to recall him.

According to local media reports, Chen is expected to resign and announce his candidacy on June 17, ahead of the June 20-24 candidate registration period announced by the CEC.

The Executive Yuan on Friday appointed Kaohsiung City Government counselor and career civil servant Yang Ming-chou (楊明州) to serve as the city’s acting mayor ahead of the by-election.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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