DPP faces challenge for Tainan legislative seats

The China Post news staff

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will face a formidable challenge in coordinating candidates to be fielded in the next legislative elections after scoring two wins in the by-elections held in southern Taiwan last Saturday. Tainan City will become one of the districts with the stiffest competition in view of a large number of aspiring candidates. The contest is seen as a challenge from the upcoming younger politicians aiming to replace the old-timers.

The DPP’s Tainan City Council member Lin Chun-hsien pledged support for former Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair in Saturday’s by-election in which Hsu won the race over his Kuomintang rival to take the seat valid for only around one year before the new elections of all legislative seats to be held in either late 2010 or early next year. But Lin also announced publicly his bid for moving up to the national parliament from city council. Hsu, who formerly served as a lawmaker before proceeding to the position as mayor, yesterday made an immediate announcement to run for another full four-year term in the Legislative Yuan. This made Hsu both an election winner and a new candidate in a single day. Hsu said he plans to serve only one more term so that any persons planning to the take the seat will have ample time for preparation, improving their political skills as well as moral standards. Hsu’s challenger, Lin, was seen as a protege of incumbent Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-teh, a former lawmaker who defeated Hsu in the DPP’s primary which Hsu strongly protested amid allegations of foul play. With both Lin and Hsu will soon fight for the same seat representing a district in Tainan, the new contest could intensify the rift between Hsu and Lai, according to political observers.

Lin emphasized that he belongs to the younger generation and possessed the courage to face challenges and take on responsibilities. To defend Mayor Lai, he held a press conference at noon yesterday to criticize Hsu for “biting the hand that feeds him” after Hsu sneered that Mayor Lai has been “too snobbish” and “lacking the spirit of harmony” as shown in his administrative clashes with council members. Hsu is not alone in facing challenge from upcomers. Veteran DPP Legislator Lin Chun-yi elected from Tainan will have to face Wang Ding-yu, another young Tainan City Council member, who has already set up his legislative campaign service center. Wang made no secret that he is shooting at the legislative seat currently held by Lin. He has been relentlessly attacking Lin for involvement in criminal cases of taking bribes. In his counterattack, lawmaker Lin has put up four giant outdoor billboards in Tainan to ridicule Wang for trading in his own fourth election district in order to run in Lin’s fifth district. Lin publicly called Wang a genuine “absconding councilman” who has abandoned his own home area for another’s turf. All the potential candidates engaged in contests will have respective support in the primaries from different political factions within the DPP, said observers.