Campaign rallies held around Taiwan on eve of biggest election - Focus Taiwan

Campaign rallies held around Taiwan on eve of biggest election

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Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Rowdy campaign rallies were held around the island on the eve of Taiwan's nine-in-one local elections, the biggest in the island's history, with the rallies that gathered the most political heavyweights or biggest crowds being in the fiercely contested capital Taipei.

Sean Lien, Taipei mayoral candidate for the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), held the "Win Taipei, Win Taiwan" rally on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.

In a show of solidarity, President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as chairman of the KMT, KMT honorary chairmen Lien Chan and Wu Poh-hsiung, former Vice President Vincent Siew, Legislature Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, and Legislator Ting Shou-chung, who had engaged in a fierce battle against Sean Lien for the party's nomination in the primary, all showed up on stage to lend support to Sean Lien.

[Sean Lien (center) and KMT heavyweight]

Sean Lien called for solidarity to "lead the country in the right direction," while his father Lien Chan appealed for support of his son for the sake of the welfare of the next generation.

Popular first lady Chow Mei-ching, who was among the tens of thousands of supporters at the rally, later was invited by Tsai Yi-shan, Sean Lien's wife, to come up on stage.

"Your vote will decide your future, your children's future, Taiwan's future and the ROC's future," Chow said, calling for the public to go to the polls Saturday.

Siew noted that in a few hours, the voters will decide who will lead the city to the path of more progress in the next four years. He called for support of Lien, saying that in terms of campaign platforms, character, willingness to take responsibility as well as global perspective, he was the best.

[Ko Wen-je (third right) is joined by his family]

In comparison, Ko, an independent who has the support of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), did not have political stars at his "One City, One Family" concert, held at his campaign headquarters on Jilin road.

Ko urged people to go to the polls Saturday, appealing for them to use the ballots to change Taipei. He said that when he completed his graveyard shift at National Taiwan University Hospital at 8 a.m. on Feb. 17, and removed his doctor's white robe, he said goodbye to his 30 years as a doctor because he had a bigger mission to "heal the society."

He said that when he walked out of the hospital, he had no support of political parties, no support base, or even the support of business groups for campaign funds. The only support he had was "belief."

He wanted to thank the public that "Ko is no longer a single individual, but a group of people now and a family of the same mind,' as he called for the strength of belief, saying that "it will make changes happen."

Ko vowed to "become a mayor of all people" if elected, saying that he wanted to topple the rich and powerful and the high walls between the blue and green camps, the two colors associated with the ruling KMT and the DPP.

Ko's camp estimated that 20,000 people attended the concert, and that a live website broadcast attracted views by around 8,500 people at the peak time.

Taiwan's punk band "the Fire Distinguisher" sang the "Island Sunrise," a theme song of the Sunflower Movement in March in protest against a cross-strait trade pact, to fire up the atmosphere at the concert.

New immigrants, indigenous people, first-time voters and patients treated by Ko took turns addressing the gathering.

Ko's family members, including his father, mother , wife, sister and brother, also were present.

Ko later led the people to sing a Taiwanese song "the White Power" and shouted the slogans of "One City, one family," and election slogans before ending the concert at around 9:40 p.m.

[An Israeli visitor in Yilan County.]

Besides Taipei, campaign rallies were held at all of the other 21 cities and counties in Taiwan. The KMT currently controls 15 of those administrative districts, while the DPP holds six -- mostly in southern Taiwan -- with the remaining one led by an independent.

Both President Ma and DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen made the final pitch to the voters Friday.

Ma is hoping to stave off KMT losses in cities and counties the party currently controls.

Tsai was focused on central Taiwan, where the party hopes to reverse the KMT's dominance and put the DPP in a stronger position for presidential and legislative elections in 2016

All campaign activities closed at 10 p.m., while online campaigning will be close at midnight.

(By Huang Li-yun and Lilian Wu)


[DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (center left) campaigns with candidates in Taichung.]

Related stories:●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

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