Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Hualian Magistrate Fu Kun-chi, a protégé of presidential candidate James Soong of the People First Party (PFP), openly threw his support behind President Ma Ying-jeou Monday.
Fu, who was expelled from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in 2009 after he decided to run against a nominee from the ruling party, attended a rally in the eastern county that day along with Wu Poh-hsiung, a KMT honorary chairman, in which Fu called for people to vote for Ma for the sake of the country's stability.
But he also called for support for the PFP to "bring justice to PFP Chairman Soong."
Voters will have three votes, one for the presidential candidate of their choice, one for the legislative candidate and one for their favored political party, in the Jan. 14 elections.
The party vote will decide which party garners the most "at-large" legislator seats in the Legislative Yuan, the nation's highest law- making body.
"Soong is my lifetime mentor, and I've always respected him," the popular magistrate said, noting that it was Soong who led him into politics and Soong's will, experience and contributions have been his model.
"I've never wavered in my respect for Soong," Fu said. However, he also said that he reported to Soong about two months ago that "for the sake of the 340,000 people in the county, it will be really difficult for me to support you in the presidential election."
He said that he had advocated cooperation between the KMT and the PFP in the 2008 election and was doing so again for the 2012 polls.
In addition, he went on, when he was elected Hualian magistrate in 2009, he expressed at that time that he would still support the KMT's presidential candidate.
Commenting on Fu's open support for Ma, KMT spokeswoman Lai Su-ju said it is vindication that Ma's political performance in eastern Taiwan has won the hearts of the residents there.
KMT Legislator Tsai Huang-liang said that political reality has forced Fu to abandon his rapport with the PFP.
On the PFP's part, a spokesman said he could understand that Fu has been under tremendous pressure.
But Wu Kun-yu also said that "the ballots are in the hands of the people and not in those of any political parties or politicians. The voters will cast their ballots for the people they support."
(By Andrew Liu and Lilian Wu)