Monday, March 17, 2008

Underdog in Taiwan's presidential election on Saturday pins hopes on key southern city

: If Frank Hsieh is to draw off an disquieted in Taiwan's presidential election on Saturday, he will have got to win a large bulk in the southern port metropolis of Kaohsiung, where he made his reputation.

With its sprawled oil refineries and characterless small-scale factories, Taiwan's 2nd biggest metropolis misses the genius of Taipei, the cosmopolite working capital where prima campaigner Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalist Party basks strong support.

But electors in Kaohsiung have got long favored campaigners from Hsieh's Democratic Progressive Party, including outgoing President Subgenus Chen Shui-bian. Hsieh, a former city manager of Kaohsiung, trusts his personal popularity will procure the overpowering bulk he necessitates to do up for his party's lagging support in the heavily populated north.

"I'm confident (of victory)," said Hsueh Chao-chi, Hsieh's Kaohsiung political campaign chairman. "It won't be easy. But it can de done."

For Hsieh to win, he necessitates to transport Kaohsiung by at least 120,000 votes, Hsueh said. That's 20,000 more than Chen's bulk was in Kaohsiung in the last election in 2004. He prevailed overall by lone 30,000 votes, or just 0.2 per centum points. Today in Asia - Pacific

"My purpose for (Hsieh) is a bulk of 140,000," said Hseuh, an energetic adult male with an intense, earnest manner. "He have a batch going for him here, particularly his service as mayor."

It won't be easy. Local political party functionaries admit they necessitate a turnout of 80 percentage or more than to run up the Kaohsiung total, a tall order in a race that makes not look to be bewitching voters.

Part of the Democratic Progressive Party's job rests with the bequest of Chen, who go forths business office in May after eight disruptive years.

With a take-no-prisoners style, Subgenus Chen alienated many of Taiwan's 23 million people. They criticise him for economical mismanagement, myopia in dealing with People'S Republic Of China — from which China split amid civil warfare in 1949 — and tolerance for alleged corruptness among his household and interior circle.

He is widely blamed for risking Taiwan's dealings with the United States — its most of import foreign spouse — in a doomed effort to force toward formal independency from China.

"Chen Shui-bian's accent on independency was really wrong," states Kaohsiung occupant Zhang Fu-shan, 45. "Working to better the economic system is the most of import thing."

Support have plunged for the Democratic Progressive Party, which in January was soundly beaten by the Nationalists in legislative elections.

The political party faithful in Kaohsiung take a firm stand that they can still change by reversal the tide. They state that Ma's pushing for a Greater People'S Republic Of China Park Market, which would beef up already-robust economical neckties with its giant neighbor, is costing him votes in the industrial city.

Hsieh have attacked the common marketplace idea, saying it would open up the door to 10s of one thousands of low-paid Chinese workers to come up to Taiwan, as well as a inundation of inexpensive Chinese goods, both of which he states could overpower Taiwan's manufacturing economy.

Even Hsieh's oppositions admit that he ran Kaohsiung well as city manager from 1998 to 2005. He is widely praised for cleansing up the city's Love River, which was transformed from a contaminated eyesore to an attractive urban waterway.

Colorful bougainvillea boundary line the Banks of the river outside the black and white store where 30-year-old Lin Tsai-hsi works.

"I'm definitely voting for Hsieh," she said. "He did a really great job, particularly in cleansing up the environment."

In a livelier portion of the city, Kaohsiung Nationalist Party frailty president Lai Feng-wei countered that Ma's Common Market thought was just what the island needed, particularly with the economic system in the stagnation after the Subgenus Chen years.

"The cardinal to the election is the economy," he said. "Ma have a good economical program. But Hsieh have nil at all."

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