Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) Former Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu, whohad never lost an election in his political career, kept his recordperfect Saturday when he was elected mayor of Xinbei City, defeatingDemocratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen in a tight race.
Chu, considered one of the ruling Kuomintang's rising stars,received 1,115,536 votes, or 52.61 percent of the votes cast,compared with 1,004,900 votes, or 47.39 percent of the total,garnered by Tsai.
In his victory speech, he thanked supporters for their firmbacking and promised to make Xinbei City the top city in Taiwan withthe help of the city's residents over the next four years.
"Thank you very much, the great residents of Xinbei, who decidedto give me a chance in the coming four years. I promise you I will domy utmost to serve you, " Chu told hundreds of supporters at hiscampaign headquarters.
Xinbei City, currently called Taipei County, is Taiwan's mostpopulous administrative district, with about 3 million voters. Itwill be upgraded to special municipality status on Dec. 25.
The Chu-Tsai contest was only one of two of Saturday's fivemayoral races to be decided by a single digit margin. Published pollsconducted prior to the election had the two candidates within themargin of error.
In a hard-fought campaign, the 49-year-old Chu targeted youngvoters and social welfare issues, promising more affordable housing,more new jobs and a better transportation system.
"I hope to build a new era for the KMT and walk a different pathof my own that is citizen-centric, " he told the Chinese-languageChina Times in a recent interview.
Chu served as vice premier before deciding to take part in theelection, which was dubbed as a "vice premier vs. vice premier"battle.
He has vast experience in politics, having served two terms asTaoyuan County magistrate from 2001-2009 and as a legislator from1999 to 2001.
Tsai, who had been a vice premier 2006-2007, became the firstlosing candidate in a local election to gain over 1 million votes,considered by observers to be a strong performance for a candidatewho had never run in an election before.
She said the defeat had not shaken her outlook on the issues.
"The faith and values I believe in have not changed because ofthe result of the election, " she said. "Although we did not succeedin our electoral bid, I felt deeply honored over the past six months.
"My personal failure does not mean a breakdown of Taiwan'sdemocracy, and I know you have regained your confidence and havewalked out from under the shadows of two years ago, " she said,referring to the DPP's decisive defeats in the 2008 legislative andpresidential elections.
(By Flor Wang)