DPP’s Tsai calls for solidarity in elections for legislative seats

The China Post news staff

Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday renewed her calls for solidarity among party members and encouraged them to help the party make big gains in the upcoming legislative elections later this year. Speaking at a political rally in southern Kaohsiung City, Tsai acknowledged that the DPP had a lackluster performance in the 2008 legislative elections.

But the party has amassed much valuable experience after winning seven of the nine by-elections in the past two years mainly because of the amiable attitude taken by aspiring candidates for the sake of the party, she said.

The DPP has formally started the process of primaries to select candidates and stronger solidarity and harmony will give the DPP a new chance to become the largest political party in the parliament, she said. Tsai praised former Legislator Lee Kun-jer for voluntarily abandoning campaign efforts to endorse the candidacy of Lin Dai-hua, also an ex-lawmaker in the legislative by-election for Kaohsiung City. She also lauded Yen Xiao-jing, a member of the Kaohsiung City Council, for making the sacrifice of dropping out of the race to support Fengshan Administrator Hsu Chih-jeh’s candidacy. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said she will accept Hsu’s resignation from the current post in March so that he can dedicate himself to the election campaign. While in central Taichung City, Tsai held a meeting with former Premier Su Tseng-chang on the sideline of a Christian church ceremony observing the 64th anniversary of the Feb. 28 Incident. Tsai and Su are presently rated as the DPP’s top contenders for the presidential race in 2012. But there were persistent reports about discord between the two DPP heavyweights. Su said he and Tsai exchanged views mainly on the party’s future with special emphasis on solidarity within the party, including creating a harmonious environment in which no aspiring candidates have to fight among themselves for nominations in major elections. A former premier and the DPP’s former candidate for vice president with running mate, ex-Premier Frank Hsieh, Su said both he and Tsai have sensed the anxiety of DPP members and supporters for the oncoming elections.

Su said the most important task for the DPP leadership is to achieve the results through closer cooperation and solidarity in response to the expectations of supporters. Tsai did not speak directly to the media concerning her meeting with Su. Su Jia-chywan, DPP secretary general, said he did not attend the meeting. But he stressed that Su and Tsai have long been familiar with each other and it was good for the two to hold such a meeting to help dispel the rumors about their alleged disagreements. He said the DPP has established a system about nominating party candidates for all elections under the principle of a friendly contest. However, the party also has a mechanism for coordination in the nomination process to avoid negative impact from possible vicious competition, he said. He said the party headquarters recognized general concern from supporters about possible rifts among leading presidential contenders.

There could be only some sparks or little unexpected episodes in the contest for nomination, but the overall primary procedure to select the 2012 presidential candidate will be comparatively smooth, he added.