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ELECTIONS 2022/KMT's Wang beats DPP's Wu in Taipei legislative by-election

01/08/2023 08:21 PM
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Ruling Democratic Progressive Party
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party's Taipei legislative by-election candidate Enoch Wu. CNA photo Jan. 8, 2023

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) The Kuomintang's (KMT) Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) has been elected to the Legislative Yuan after defeating Enoch Wu (吳怡農) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taipei's legislative by-election Sunday.

Wang, a veteran Taipei City councilor, declared victory at around 5:20 p.m., 80 minutes after the polls closed.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced Wang's win in a statement, in which it published data showing that the KMT candidate finished with 60,519 votes, or 52.26 percent of the total, with Wu receiving 54,739 votes, or 47.27 percent.

Independent candidate Hsiao He-lin (蕭赫麟) came in third with 542 votes or 0.47 percent, on a relatively low turnout at 43.35 percent, according to the CEC figures.

In her victory speech, Wang thanked the voters for trusting her.

"I would like to thank voters for casting their ballots for me," Wang said, adding that she will do her best to repay the electorate's faith in her.

KMT's Taipei Chapter chief Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹) attributed Wang's Sunday victory to her long record of public service in Songshan District.

The veteran city councilor also received a boost from campaign appearances by KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), two favorites to run in the 2024 presidential race under the KMT flag.

Chu Chao-hsiang (曲兆祥), a professor at National Taiwan Normal University's Graduate Institute of Political Science, attributed Wang's win to the momentum of the KMT's success in local government elections on Nov. 26 last year.

The by-election result means the DPP/KMT balance in the 133-member Legislative Yuan remains the same, with the ruling party continuing to hold 61 seats and the KMT 37.

Shen Yu-chung (沈有忠), a political science professor at Tunghai University, meanwhile, said Wang's victory does not come as a surprise as Taipei's third electoral district had almost always leaned heavily the KMT.

Wang was a heavy favorite heading into Sunday's by-election, with pre-election polls in the capital city's third electoral district putting the 58-year-old former journalist well ahead of the DPP's Wu.

The electoral district, which covers the Zhongshan and northern Songshan districts, was held by new Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), who resigned as a legislator in November to campaign for the capital's top job.

Newly elected KMT Legislator Wang Hung-wei (center) with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (right). CNA photo Jan. 8, 2023
Newly elected KMT Legislator Wang Hung-wei (center) with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (right). CNA photo Jan. 8, 2023

Wang was first elected to the Taipei City Council as a member of the unification-leaning New Party in 2006 before switching to the KMT in 2013, and was most recently reelected in November last year.

She had been originally reluctant to run in the by-election before but made an about-face after several KMT heavyweights urged her to run.

Wang later apologized to her constituents, saying her decision to accept the party's nomination came after much contemplation, and that she understood the importance of the legislative seat for the KMT and was willing to take on the difficult task.

During the campaign, the DPP accused Wang of abandoning the people who voted to reelect her to the city council.

Sunday's defeat is the second in the same electoral district for the DPP's Wu, a 42-year-old former special forces soldier, following a 6-percentage point defeat to Chiang in 2020.

In accepting his defeat, Wu told at a 5:30 press event that he congratulated Wang in winning the by-election while thanking his supporters over the past five-week campaign.

Wu admitted that the outcome was somewhat disappointing and did not meet expectations.

The defeated DPP candidate said he hoped that this would mark a new beginning for clean election campaigning without personal attacks or mud-sliding.

Wu was born in the United States, obtained a degree in economics from Yale University, and was an executive director for the investment banking company Goldman Sachs before returning to Taiwan in 2013.

He served in the Taiwanese Army's Special Forces Command from 2014 to 2015.

Following his service, Wu joined former Premier Lin Chuan's (林全) office to lead an interagency task force on Taiwan's security policies and served on the staff of Taiwan's National Security Council.

Wu is currently the founder and head of a Taipei-based NGO focusing on national security, titled Forward Alliance. He served as the DPP's Taipei Chapter chair from Feb. 2021 to June 2022.

Though Wang is expected to leave her councilor post soon, no by-election will be held to fill her seat.

Under the Local Government Law, a supplementary election will only be held if over half of the local council seats within a given electoral district are vacant.

(By Liu Chien-pang and Joseph Yeh)


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