Local elections will be held at the end of the year in Taiwan. While an opposition candidate to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai has yet to be determined, there are now rumblings of a Blue-White alliance to oppose DPP rule in the city.
Originally, some had speculated that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je might head south to face off with Chen. However, looking at recent polling it is unlikely that Ko would travel all that way to join in what would most likely be an embarrassing defeat.
Others had postulated that Lo Chih-chiang, who is currently a member of the Taipei City Council, could be another possibly opponent of Chen. This seems likely to be untrue though as Lo has already announced that he will be running for mayor of Taipei as part of what seems to be a strategy to get more Facebook followers. He is likely to get beat badly in Taipei though as Chiang Wan-an seems to be the clear favorite, at least as of this moment.
Yet another candidate who has been put forward is Kao Chin Su-mei. Kao is a member of the Legislative Yuan, representing the Highland Aborigines electoral district. She too is likely to end up getting obliterated in the final tally if she does indeed run, due at least in part to her very friendly relationship with China, she took millions in bri..I mean donations from the CCP. Former Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu already tried the cozy with China thing and got recalled for his troubles.
Now, we get to the Blue-White alliance, as one final candidate has been floated, Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩). Su is physician who has been at the forefront of the pan-Blue camp’s opposition to the importation of ractopamine pork from America.
It has been rumored that Su could lead the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), for Ko in the Kaohsiung mayoral election. For him to have any shot in this the KMT would likely have to not run a candidate and put their full weight behind Su, or risk splitting the ticket. These sorts of team ups are not unprecedented and have actually occurred fairly recently such as when the DPP backed the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP) candidate, Chen Po-wei, in his successful 2020 run for the Legislative Yuan.
Even if such an alliance can be forged in time, opposition to incumbent Chen Chi-mai will likely be quite difficult. Chen did lose to populist Han Kuo-yu by about 9 points in 2018, however he also absolutely trounced his opponent, Lee Mei-jhen (李眉蓁), by over 44 percent in the 2020 by-election after Han was recalled. It is also quite likely that many in Kaohsiung still have a bad taste in their mouths over the abject failure of the Han reign and might be reluctant to elect another pan-Blue so soon.
Compounding on this is the fact that so far, though it is subject to change, Su seems to be a one-issue candidate He has focused heavily on the racto pork front, an issue which Taiwanese voters already rejected in the most recent referendum vote.
Chen’s popularity has also been growing, he was ranked 4th most popular in a recent roundup of national political figures. This in combination with Kaohsiung long being a DPP stronghold, it is going to be incredibly difficult to take down Chen, even with a Blue-White alliance.
Of course with around 9 months until the election anything can happen. But without major and sustained effort or an act of God, it doesn’t look hopeful for those attempting to replace the current Mayor of Kaohsiung.