《TAIPEI TIMES》 Han registers for presidential election
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential candidate, center, and his running mate, former premier Simon Chang, second left, hold placards after registering at the Central Election Commission in Taipei yesterday for the Jan. 11 presidential election. Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
‘PROTECT THE NATION’: The KMT candidate said that the Jan. 11 election would determine the life or death of the Republic of China, as he urged people to vote
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜） yesterday completed his registration at the Central Election Commission office in Taipei to run in next year’s presidential election.
The commission is accepting registrations from party-nominated candidates for the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections from yesterday to Friday.
Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） candidate, was accompanied by his running mate, former premier Simon Chang （張善政）, and his Taipei campaign office deputy chief executive, Hsu Shu-hua （許淑華）.
Speaking to reporters at the commission, Han said he would very much like a “clean, civilized and healthy” presidential election that could make future generations proud.
“My running mate, Simon Chang, and I will work hard to create clean elections, a sunny vibe, a beautiful Taiwan and a bright future,” he said.
He and Chang will clearly explain their concerns and plans for the nation’s future so that people can decide whom to vote for, he added.
Compared with most democratic elections, next year’s presidential and legislative elections have a special significance, he said.
“While elections are usually about changing government, next year’s elections will determine the life or death of the Republic of China,” he said, urging Taiwanese around the world to return home to vote to protect the nation.
A survey conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News published yesterday showed President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） of the Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） leading in a three-way race, with a support rating of 45 percent, followed by Han with 29 percent and People First Party Chairman James Soong （宋楚瑜） with 8 percent.
Asked how he would close the 16-point gap with Tsai, Han said: “Can’t you see that I’m still smiling?”
The DPP is “silly” to assume that good poll numbers would ensure victory, he said.
“I think in a completely different way. I believe you can only win [the election] if you win people’s hearts,” he said.
If people look closely, they would notice that, while people attending his rally were there for him, those at Tsai’s were just there for “a lunchbox,” he said.
In other developments, Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau Secretary-General Kao Mei-lan （高美蘭） yesterday applied for a month’s leave, which means she would again miss the Kaohsiung City Council’s interpellation.
Kao has been on leave since Monday last week and had missed a question-and-answer session at the city council last week.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine earlier this month reported that Han and Kao in 2011 each purchased a pre-sale luxury apartment in Taipei’s Nangang District （南港） valued at more than NT$70 million （US$2.3 million）.
A week after the report, DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien （林俊憲） said that Han and five other buyers allegedly pressured the construction company into offering them a combined loan of NT$1.3 billion to be returned over 20 years, conditions that were against the company’s policy.
Kao said in a written statement that by taking time off, she hoped to avoid any concerns about the government’s neutrality and to give her colleagues more space to work undisturbed.
All her housing investments were done legally and before she became a public servant, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA