An alliance of pro-Taiwan groups yesterday threw their support behind Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), calling on voters to end what it called the “24-year-old reign by pan-blue forces” in the capital.
Addressing the crowd, Chen said he was running for mayor to make Taipei and the nation better places to live.
“Taipei is the capital, and it is the locomotive driving the nation in plowing ahead,” said Chen, who spoke mainly in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), as he told the groups to call him “A-diong” (阿中).
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
Chen pointed to his administrative and organizational experience, having served for more than five years as the head of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and nearly three years as the head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, leading the nation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chen is involved in a tight race for Taipei mayor, and the endorsement by an alliance of more than 40 pro-Taiwan organizations should raise his chances of winning by consolidating the support of moderate to deep-green voters with traditional DPP supporters.
He is mainly running against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) and, most likely, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), who has yet to officially declare her candidacy.
Huang is generally viewed as being favored by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).
Huang has yet to say whether she would run under the TPP flag or as an independent.
Taiwan Society chairman Lee Chuan-hsin (李川信), along with other pro-Taiwan group leaders and academics, spearheaded the effort to form the alliance, known informally as he Joint Support Group for Chen Shih-chung,” to provide assistance, raise funds, canvass votes, organize local events and conduct other campaign work.
“Chen is calm, cool-headed and warm-hearted, and he spoke with composure and intelligence when he headed the CECC. He made good decisions, enabling Tatiwan to dodge many crises during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lee told the crowd.
“People felt safe and protected when Chen was in charge. Taiwan’s prevention measures and control of the pandemic is among the best in the world, and were praised by many countries,” Lee said, adding that Chen is the person best suited to take charge of governing Taipei.
The city had been ruled successively by two KMT mayors — Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) — and now for two terms under Ko, “for a total of 24 years under pan-blue political forces, who have a pro-China stance,” he said.
“This is nearly a quarter of a century, a long period under which we have not seen a lot of progress. They have no vision, no foresight for the city,” he said.
“It is now time for a change, for A-diong to head the city and lead Taipei to take its place on the world stage,” he said, contrasting Taipei’s slow progress with the changes in Kaohsiung, Hsinchu and Tainan over the past two decades.
“The mayor of our capital must have a global vision and mindset. Taipei should not be limited to linking up with Shanghai. A good mayor must have core Taiwan values and a firm stature to forge ties with major cities around the world,” Lee said, in an apparent reference to Ko’s holding of a controversial forum with Shanghai.
During the event, Chen also introduced the DPP’s candidates for Taipei and New Taipei City councilors, urging the alliance to help the party “hit a home run” by getting all of them elected, so he could have the backing of the Taipei City Council if he wins.
Among the organizations present at the event were the World United Formosans for Independence, the Taiwan Association of University Professors, the Taiwan Republic Office, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, the Lee Teng-hui Association for Democracy, the Union of Taiwanese Teachers, the Taiwan Hakka Society, the Taiwan New Constitution Foundation and the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan.
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