Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) Of the 113 legislative seats up for grabs in Taiwan’s Jan. 11 elections, perhaps none are being watched more closely than the battle in Taipei’s third district, in which opposition Kuomintang (KMT) incumbent Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) will try to hold his seat against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) challenger Enoch Wu (吳怡農).
Both candidates are seen as rising stars in their respective parties, with Chiang, a great-grandson of former President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), often tipped as a future candidate for Taipei mayor, while Wu, a nephew of former DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-ren (吳乃仁), has gained a high profile since his entry into the race four months ago.
Taipei’s District 3, which is comprised of the Zhongshan and Songshan districts, is seen as KMT-leaning, although less so than other areas of the city, which has long been a stronghold of the party
In 2016, Chiang won his seat against a divided opposition, with only 47 percent of the vote.
During his time in office, however, the 40-year-old has staked out a reputation as a modernizing force within the party, by voting in favor of marriage equality, taking progressive stances on labor issues and voicing concern about China.
Nevertheless, he faces a formidable challenge from Wu, a 38-year-old Yale graduate whose biography includes a 10-year stint at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong and service as a special forces soldier.
Since joining the race, Wu has proven himself adept at leveraging hot-button issues, such as his campaign to remove Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) targeting the KMT candidate’s controversial attendance at a Chinese government-sponsored memorial event for Sun Yat-sen (孫中山).
Adding a personal element to their competition, Wu’s father, Wu Nai-teh (吳乃德), was a contributor to the pro-democracy journal Formosa Magazine, which was shut down under the rule of his opponent’s grandfather, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), setting off an anti-democracy crackdown now known as the Kaohsiung Incident.
Another factor in the race will be Keng Kim-yung (何景榮), a third-party candidate running on the ticket of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) Taiwan People’s Party.
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