Hualien City mayoral race reaches climax

Chants of political slogans and appeals for votes rang out in Hualien City on Friday as the vehicles carrying candidates running in Saturday's mayoral by-election shuttled through the city's streets on the final day of campaigning.

The campaigns of the two main contenders in the race -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chang Mei-hui (???) and Kuomintang (KMT) rival Wei Chia-hsien (???) -- were particularly active in trying to get out the vote.

KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (???) has labeled the by-election a chance to cast a "vote of no confidence" in the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the DPP, which took power on May 20 after eight years of KMT governance.

Though coming only about 100 days after Tsai took office, the by-election is being seen by some as the first test of the new president's support.

Hung has been in Hualien to stump for Wei since Wednesday, and as she accompanied Wei in a door-to-door canvassing campaign Friday, she praised the KMT candidate as a person with professional knowledge and an enthusiasm for serving people.

The DPP's Chang solicited votes while riding in a motorcade around the city with her father by her side.

Chang is the wife of former Hualien Mayor Tien Chih-hsuan , who died of lung cancer on May 29. The by-election is being held to fill the opening left by his death.

Asked about the race, Chang said she was not treating the election as a battle between the DPP and KMT but as "a vote for the best person for the job as mayor."

The other three candidates -- Huang Chien-fa , Hung Shih-min (???) and Hsu Yuan-shen (???) -- are all independent.

A total of 81,484 city residents are eligible to vote in Saturday's election, according to the Hualien County Election Commission.

Apart from the Hualien City mayoral by-election, 4,911 eligible voters in Wanrong Township of Hualien County will also elect a new township chief in a separate poll Saturday.

Source: Focus Taiwan