Opposition Kuomintang's (KMT's) candidate Wei Chia-hsien won the Hualien mayoral by-election Saturday, garnering about 54 percent of the valid votes, according to official election results.
Wei obtained 17,923 of the total 33,084 valid votes, while his main rival Chang Mei-hui (???) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) only managed to get 13,958 votes, the Hualien County Election Commission said.
Upon learning of the results, Wei -- an incumbent Hualien County councilor -- expressed gratitude to the voters and pledged that he will make efforts to unite people in the Hualien City to make it better. He is a three-time Hualien County councilor for the city in eastern Taiwan.
The election has been closely watched by many as it was the first major election in Taiwan after President Tsai Ing-wen (???), who doubles as the DPP chairwoman, took office May 20.
The KMT held a news conference at the party's headquarters in Taipei Saturday following Wei's victory in the five-way race.
KMT Secretary-General Mo Tien-hu (???) thanked Hualien City residents for their support of Wei, saying that the party will continue to make efforts to win back the public's support. He described Saturday's victory as a boost to morale in the party.
The KMT suffered a crushing defeat in the presidential and legislative elections in January, losing both elections to the DPP.
The DPP also issued a statement to concede the loss in Saturday's by-election, calling on Wei to work with people across party lines when running the city.
The by-election was held to fill the opening left by former DPP Hualien Mayor Tien Chih-hsuan (???), who died of lung cancer on May 29. His widow, Chang Mei-hui, ran as the DPP's candidate in the mayoral by-election.
The turnout in the by-election was 40.87 percent, the local election commission said.
Apart from the mayoral by-election, voters in Hualien County's Wanrong Township also elected Chang Chiu-mei (???) chief of the township in a separate six-way race Saturday. The post was left by Hsu Chin-sheng (???), who was removed from the post after being convicted of profiting from others when he worked at the township office 1996-2006.
Upon winning the by-election, Chang of the KMT vowed to give her utmost to do the job, saying that she will not disappoint those who voted for her.
Chang garnered 711 of the valid 2,823 votes, the commission said.
Source: Focus Taiwan