Mon, Jan 31, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Su elected as new DPP chairperson

NEW POST In remarks after his election, Su noted his party's commitment to democracy and said he would work to broaden the DPP's public appeal

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

As the sole candidate for the ruling party's chairmanship by-election, Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was elected the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday with a higher-than-expected turnout of 19.73 percent.

There were around 347,000 eligible DPP voters for the chairman by-election.

Vowing to broaden the DPP's appeal, Su said his new job will be to reflect mainstream public opinion.

"The DPP is the only party in Taiwan that has its chairman directly elected by its members," Su said after being elected. "The significance of today's election ... is that party members carried out their democratic rights through the party's democratic mechanism."

Only a democratic party will stick to democratic values and defend them, Su said.

"Only the party which defends democracy can make people become the real master of their nation," He added.

A total of 167 polling stations were set up around the nation from 9am through 4pm, and vote-counting began immediately after the polls closed.

Although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is currently on a state visit to South Pacific allies, first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), accompanied by DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung, cast her ballot at a polling station in Wanhua District to show the first family's support for Su, who was the sole candidate for the chairmanship.

Noting that casting ballots is an obligation for every party member, the first lady called for a high turnout to support Su.

For his part, Chang said after casting his ballot that the DPP will continue to seek cooperation among the various political parties for the sake of political stability after the new legislature is inaugurated Feb. 1, which is why, he said, he will not vie for the legislative speakership. Chang is an incoming DPP legislator-at-large.

Su, who has been traveling around the country over the past few weeks to secure votes, said the turnout rate for the previous DPP chairman election in which there was also only one candidate stood at only around 10 percent.

Before the results, Su said he expected the turnout for the election to also be 10 percent, but thought it would be difficult to reach even that target because DPP members have increased by 200,000 over the past four years and the election was held close to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Turnout ended up being almost double his expectations, however.

The election was made necessary after President Chen stepped down from his post as DPP chairman to take responsibility for the worse-than-expected performance of the party in the Dec. 11 legislative elections.

The DPP garnered 89 seats, far less than its target of more than 100 seats in the 225-member legislature.

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