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Taiwan's opposition DPP easily wins two legislative by-elections.

TAIPEI, March 5 Kyodo

Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party retained two seats in its southern island stronghold in legislative by-elections Saturday as support for the rival Nationalist Party collapsed, sending another warning to the ruling KMT ahead of legislative and presidential polls in late 2011 to early 2012.

The seats in Kaohsiung and Tainan were marginal wins of 2.1 percent and 3.3 percent for the pro-independence DPP in the 2008 legislative elections, but the KMT vote in Saturday's contests fell precipitously amid a low turnout.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said the result sent the message that Taiwan ''is longing for change'' after three years of President Ma Ying-jeou's administration.

In Kaohsiung, former legislator Lin Tai-hua won 69.7 percent of the vote for the DPP, the Central Election Commission said, in a semi-rural electorate that skirts the east of the city center.

KMT candidate Hsu Ching-huang, a former DPP member and son of a former DPP legislator, ran in 2008 as an independent and gained 10.6 percent of the vote. KMT endorsement left him with 30.3 percent Saturday.

Former Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair comfortably beat the KMT's Chen Shu-huey 61.2 percent to 38.1 percent of the vote in one of Tainan's inner city electorates.

The results join a trend of disappointing election outcomes for the KMT, particularly in the south.

DPP candidates easily won the Kaohsiung and Tainan mayoral elections in November 2010.

But the KMT continues to enjoy a handsome majority in the legislature, which has allowed the president to pursue an aggressive policy of economic detente with China.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:Mar 7, 2011
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