Ex-president to back the Taiwan Solidarity Union legislative candidates


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Former President Lee Teng-hui will attend an evening rally in the southern port city of Kaohsiung Friday to drum up support for candidates of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in the coming legislative elections, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-hui said yesterday.

Huang made the remarks as he accompanied three TSU legislative candidates to a temple to pray for victory in the January elections.

Huang noted that faced with the new “single member constituency, two votes” electoral system and a streamlined legislature, which is generally considered to favor the major parties over the smaller ones, the TSU expects a tough battle to ensure its continued existence.

The TSU will hold four rallies around the country in the hope of “rekindling the passion for the TSU,” he said.

He urged the public to vote for TSU candidates for three reasons, claiming that the party is the only one in the legislature that guards the interests of the Taiwan people, can serve as a crucial force between the two main rival parties, and can play a middle-to-left role that takes care of the underprivileged.

He admitted that the party has recently met with figures from the private sector, including business tycoon Winston Wang, chairman of the Grace THW Group, to exchange views on how to join hands with a so-called “third force” to solidify the “indigenous” political parties.

He noted that Lee, the “spiritual leader” of the TSU, has repeatedly said that the political landscape in Taiwan should move from pro-independence vs. pro-unification to two indigenous parties.

In addition to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), there should be another “indigenous” party, Huang quoted Lee as saying. Huang also said there are eight out of 73 regional constituencies in which both the DPP and the TSU have fielded candidates.

He said the DPP and the TSU must coordinate and field only one candidate in these constituencies to avoid letting the Kuomintang benefit by playing off one party against the other.

He proposed coordination between the two parties and said that if that fails, public opinion polls should have the final say on who should run.