Incumbent KMT Chiayi mayor wins reelection in delayed vote (update)
Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Incumbent Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) of the Kuomintang (KMT) easily won reelection Sunday as expected, defeating her main challenger Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by nearly 30 percentage points.
The 63-year-old Huang, who declared victory at 5:15 p.m., just 75 minutes after the polls closed, finished with 59,874 votes, or 63.8 percent of the total, to Lee's 32,790 votes, or 35 percent of the total, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Three other independent candidates combined for the remaining 1.2 percent of the votes cast in an election that was delayed three weeks because one of the candidates died prior to the original election date of Nov. 26.
"This victory belongs to every citizen of Chiayi. It is a win for the democratic values," Huang said in her victory speech.
She thanked voters for their patience and endurance in waiting for three weeks before casting their ballots.
Huang also thanked her opponents, saying that the advice and suggestions they provided throughout the campaign would definitely be taking into consideration.
In his concession speech, Lee, who most recently served as deputy secretary-general of the presidential office after representing the city as a legislator from 2012 to 2020, thanked his backers for their support and apologized to them for the result.
Huang had been an overwhelming favorite heading into the race, and the abnormally low turnout of 44 percent, caused in part by the cold spell that has gripped Taiwan over the weekend, did not change the dynamics of the race.
Huang was a KMT legislator representing Chiayi City from 1999 to 2005. She has also served as KMT vice chairperson since October 2021 after previously holding the position from 2008 to 2016.
She had previously served as Chiayi mayor for two terms from 2005 to 2014 and won back the seat in November 2018.
The city's mayoral election was originally set to take place as part of nationwide elections to choose city mayors, county magistrates, and city and county councilors on Nov. 26.
It was postponed to Sunday by the CEC, however, after the death of one of the mayoral candidates, independent Huang Shao-tsung (黃紹聰).
Huang died of a heart attack on Nov. 2, and the CEC suspended the race for mayor based on Article 30 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, dubbed the "anti-assassination clause."
It requires the CEC to terminate a mayoral or county magistrate election and restart the process if a candidate dies at least one day before election day.
The rescheduling of the Chiayi mayoral race, however, will not affect the newly elected mayor's inauguration date of Dec. 25.
Huang's victory meant the KMT kept control of 14 of Taiwan's 22 cities and counties, and it was considered the winner of the local elections because it picked up the major battlegrounds of Taipei and Taoyuan as well as the city of Keelung, while losing the less populous county of Miaoli and the small island counties of Penghu and Kinmen.
The additions of Taipei and Taoyuan to seats it held on to in New Taipei and Taichung gave it control of four of Taiwan's six biggest metropolitan areas where nearly 70 percent of Taiwan's people live.
The DPP, which controls the central government, won only five cities and counties, losing their hold on Taoyuan, Keelung, and Hsinchu cities while picking up the offshore Penghu County.
The Taiwan People's Party (TPP), founded by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), lost Taipei but took Hsinchu City, and independents won in Miaoli and Kinmen counties.
Following the election setback, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced she would step down as chairperson of the DPP, potentially creating uncertainty for the party 14 months ahead of Taiwan's next presidential election.
Dec. 14: VP Lai registers as candidate for DPP chairperson election
Dec. 2: Taipei City Councilor Wang Hung-wei to run for KMT in by-election
Nov. 30: DPP selects Enoch Wu to contest Taipei legislative by-election
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