Taiwan gears up for 9-in-1 local government elections Saturday - Focus Taiwan

Taiwan gears up for 9-in-1 local government elections Saturday

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Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) A record 11,130 public offices will be up for grabs when Taiwanese head to the polls to elect nine categories of local government positions Saturday.

Commentators have likened the city and county elections to a mid-term and said the results will be an indicator of the ruling Kuomintang's fortunes ahead of the 2016 presidential election. KMT candidates are fighting an uphill battle to hold on to power in the major city of Taichung, the capital of Taipei and the northern port city of Keelung.

The elections will select mayors and city councilors in the special municipalities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and the newly upgraded Taoyuan; magistrates and mayors as well as councilors, town chiefs and town representatives in the other 16 counties and county-level cities; and village and ward heads in all 22 localities.

[Independent candidate for Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je's rally]

Also being held are elections for district chiefs and council members in six aboriginal districts in mountainous parts of New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Voters are required to bring their identification cards, personal seals and election notifications with them.

[President Ma Ying-jeou campaigns with Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Yang Chiu-hsing]

Voters are forbidden from bringing mobile phones or cameras into polling stations, an offense punishable with a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$9,700), the CEC said, adding that people can also be punished for unknowingly posting images of the polls on Facebook.

A total of 18.5 million voters across Taiwan are eligible to take part in the elections, CEC data show.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Y.F. Low)ENDITEM/WH

Related stories:●Nov. 28: Campaign rallies held around Taiwan on eve of biggest election●Nov. 28: Foreign-based businessmen returning to vote●Nov. 28: KMT, DPP heads make final frenetic pitch for votes on election eve●Nov. 28: Voter turnout expected to approach 70 percent: CEC●Nov. 27: Constructing a crisis: candidates' last-minute appeals to voters●Nov. 27: Moderate weather expected on election day Saturday

Broadcast of Taipei mayoral campaign rallies Friday night:

[KMT's Sean Lien, in front of the Presidential office (concluded). President Ma Ying-Jeou and Lien made appearance at 3:10:00]

[Independent Ko Wen-je at his headquarters (concluded). Ko made appearance at 3:20:00]

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