Hou Yu-ih wins KMT primary for New Taipei mayoral race (update)

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Hou Yu-ih (???), the former deputy mayor of New Taipei, has won the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT's) primary to become the party's candidate for the mayoral election in New Taipei on Nov. 24, the KMT announced Friday.

The primary consisted of opinion polls conducted by three different polling companies.

Hou, who resigned as deputy mayor in February to concentrate on the mayoral election, finished at the top of the polls, said Lee Che-hua (???), director of the KMT's Organizational Development Committee.

He was followed by former Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (???) in second place and former New Taipei City Councilor King Chieh-shou (???) in third, Lee said.

The KMT did not release any polling data, citing "party unity."

An unnamed KMT figure revealed, however, that Hou finished ahead of Chou by 15-20 percentage points, and was also ahead of a potential Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent, former Taipei County Magistrate Su Tseng-chang (???), by around 20 percentage points.

The KMT Central Standing Committee is expected to confirm the nomination of Hou as early as April 11.

Chou conceded defeat and said he will support any candidate nominated by his party, while King said he gave Hou his blessing.

Though Hou appears to be the front-runner in the race, Lee said the KMT and ruling DPP have roughly the same amount of support in New Taipei, meaning that independent voters will have a big say in the race, and Hou's opponent could easily close the gap with him.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (???) said Hou's advantage lies in his approachability, describing the former director-general of the National Police Agency as someone who has worked his way up through the ranks and cultivated an image as a police hero.

Once he runs for mayor, however, the public will examine his seven years in office as deputy mayor, and he will carry the baggage of any failures by the incumbent New Taipei government, Lo said.

At a press conference on Friday, Hou vowed to restore the people's confidence in the KMT and build New Taipei into a city that its citizens can feel proud of.

Meanwhile, the DPP will discuss the nomination of its candidate for the New Taipei mayoral race on April 11. Many inside the party have urged former premiers Su Tseng-chang and Yu Shyi-kun (???) to run.

Su's daughter Su Chiao-hui (???) told CNA that her father would respect any decision by the party and believed the DPP could navigate the election with wisdom.

Yu also said recently that he would respect the party's decision.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel