Battleground Kaohsiung: Han Kuo-yu, KMT's 'very un-KMT' comeback kid

Mr Han Kuo-yu speaking at a rally in Kaohsiung last month. The 61-year-old KMT veteran was largely unknown only a year ago. Now, he commands a rock star-like following, parlaying an everyman charisma and folksy eloquence to smashing effect.
Mr Han Kuo-yu speaking at a rally in Kaohsiung last month. The 61-year-old KMT veteran was largely unknown only a year ago. Now, he commands a rock star-like following, parlaying an everyman charisma and folksy eloquence to smashing effect.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A star is born in Kaohsiung, and he is a bald, rapier-tongued former school principal who once bashed Mr Chen Shui-bian, the man who would later be Taiwan's president, into submission in Parliament.

Mr Han Kuo-yu, a 61-year-old veteran of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), was largely unknown only a year ago. Now, he commands a rock star-like following, parlaying an everyman charisma and folksy eloquence to smashing effect in a bid to capture southern Kaohsiung, Taiwan's third-largest city.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline 'KMT's 'very un-KMT' comeback kid '. Subscribe