Election campaigns in Taiwan are picking up speed before votes are cast this Saturday. One of the more unusual races is taking place, somewhat unsurprisingly, in Miaoli.
Candidates in Taiwan’s rural Miaoli County are hitting the streets from early morning despite the rain. With only days until the local elections, independent candidate for county magistrate Zhong Dongjin (鍾東錦) doesn’t want to lose time and eats breakfast on the go.
But this isn’t what makes the Miaoli race unique. It’s the candidates.
Zhong Dongjin is running as an independent after Taiwan’s second largest party, the KMT, revoked his membership. He is slightly ahead of his main DPP rival, and that’s despite Zhong’s controversial past. He has a number of criminal convictions on his record. Those include participating in a murder, stabbing a person with a knife, committing criminal adultery and associating with gangsters.
Yet, he says people greet him warmly wherever he goes.
His main rival is the DPP’s Hsu Ting-chen (徐定禎). Currently, one of Hsu’s chief concerns is making sure the election is clean. He wants prosecutors to stave off election bribery until the end of voting.
He says the worst instances of corruption during the 2018 elections happened in places where prosecutors had left their posts the afternoon before voting started.
Besides calling for clean elections, Hsu is also asking voters to look into his rival’s past.
Miaoli County has a reputation for being the odd one out among all of Taiwan’s regions. After looking at this year’s elections, it’s not hard to imagine why.
Tomasz Koper, RTI News