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Taiwan holds legislative by-elections

2015/02/07 12:29:56

Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) Voters in one special municipality and four counties in Taiwan will elect five members of the country's legislature Saturday after the seats were vacated following last November's local government elections.

The by-elections are being billed as the first skirmish between Eric Chu, mayor of New Taipei City, and Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the main opposition Progressive Democratic Party (DPP), since Chu took over as head of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) after the KMT's losses at the local elections.

Both Chu and Tsai are seen as presidential hopefuls even though Chu said he will not run for president when he announced his bid for party chairmanship on December 12.

Whatever the significance for the two main parties or their leaders, the result of Saturday's by-elections is not expected to change the balance of power in the 113-seat legislature.

Before the Nov. 29 local elections, the KMT held 65 seats in the legislature, compared with the DPP's 40 seats.

The DPP held three of the five seats vacated by lawmakers who went on to become the mayor of Taichung City and the county magistrates of Pingtung and Changhua counties.

The other two seats had belonged to KMT lawmakers who were elected chiefs of Nantou and Miaoli counties.

Campaigns for the by-elections have been muted in recent days by the air crash in Taipei Wednesday that killed 38 people and left 5 others missing. Slogan-chanting rallies and motorcades were replaced by phone calls to get out the votes.

The polls will close at 4 p.m., with the results expected shortly afterwards.

The four-year term of the current legislature will end on Jan. 31, 2016.

(By Claudia Liu and Jay Chen)