TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hong Kong media have speculated that Chang Ya-chung (張亞 中) of Kuomingtang (KMT) could run as the party’s candidate in next year’s Kaohsiung mayoral election, noting that his broad appeal in the city mirrors that of previous populist candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
Despite the suggestion, the party leadership would favor former Kaohsiung deputy mayor Lee Si-chuan (李 四川), according to a China Times report.
Now that the KMT, Taiwan’s main opposition party, has elected Eric Chu (朱立倫) as its new president on Saturday, September 25, attention has turned to what the future may hold for Chang Ya-chung, who was closely second in the race.
Lee is the de facto leader among local party groups in Kaohsiung and may garner more support among lower-level KMT politicians in the region, according to reports.
Yet, according to the final vote count, Chu only led Chang by 771 votes in Kaohsiung, despite Lee’s strenuous efforts to build support for Chu among local groups over which he allegedly has a sway.
Chang’s confrontational style and bold rhetoric in favor of unification is gaining support from supporters of the “deep blue”, which will likely lead to differences between the party and its preferred candidate for mayor of Kaohsiung, according to the China Times .
Despite Chu’s calls for his party members to unite on Saturday night, factional gaps within the KMT are likely to widen and cause a deep schism, according to some lawmakers in the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP).
When asked what he would do with Chang as a potential opponent in next year’s election, Kaohsiung Mayor and DPP member Chen Chi-mai (陳 其 邁) said he “didn’t had no comments “.