TAIPEI (CNA) — The ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chairman by-election is being held on Jan. 6 to fill the vacancy left by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after she resigned as chairwoman of the party on Nov. 24, 2018 to take responsibility for the party’s crushing defeat in the local government elections held that day.
The by-election kicked off at 8 a.m. and will run until 5 p.m.
Some 200,000 DPP members are eligible to cast their ballots at 117 polling stations around Taiwan, with the turnout rate estimated to be at 30-40 percent. The results will be known later on Jan. 6, but will only be officially announced on Wednesday.
The by-election is a two-man race between Cabinet Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) and You Ying-lung (游盈隆), chairman of the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, a non-profit institute specialized in opinion polls and in-depth studies of public opinion.
Cho, who has served in several government posts and was a lawmaker from 1999-2004, has garnered support from a group of DPP city mayors, county magistrates, and legislators, who are among the party’s middle-aged generation, to run for the party chairmanship.
You, who served as the deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council and the secretary general of the Straits Exchange Foundation during the 2000-2008 tenure of former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), is backed mainly by a force in the party opposed to Tsai.
The by-election comes after an open letter issued by four senior Taiwan independence advocates on Jan. 3, urging Tsai to forgo a re-election bid in 2020 in light of the DPP’s major defeat in the local government elections in November.
The letter sparked concerns over the possible negative impact on Cho’s chances of winning the DPP chairman by-election.
Cho is considered a subordinate and protege of Tsai and his position on various issues are expected to be closely aligned to Tsai’s.
By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao