Sat, Feb 17, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Hsieh throws hat in ring for 2008 race

DPP PRIMARY The former premier is the first of the party's `big four' to announce his or her candidacy. He also took a dig at a presumed KMT challenger, Ma Ying-jeou

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) announced yesterday that he will register next month to run in the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential primary.

Hsieh is the first of the four big DPP figures viewed as possible presidential contenders to declare his candidacy. The others are Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun.

His announcement came three days after former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) declared he would seek the KMT nomination for the 2008 election and two days after the DPP announced it was moving its presidential primary timetable ahead by one month.

"I will take advantage of the Lunar New Year holidays to ponder the issues of public welfare and tax reform. I will then register for the DPP's presidential primary," Hsieh said while meeting with grassroots supporters in Kaohsiung.

Registration for the primary will be open from March 5 to March 9, according to the schedule finalized by the party's Central Standing Committee on Wednesday.

Party members will vote on both presidential and legislative hopefuls on May 6, after which public opinion polls will be held.

The party member vote counts for 30 percent of a would-be candidate's "score," while the public poll counts for 70 percent. The presidential hopeful who receives the highest approval rating will be named as the party's presidential standard-bearer on May 30.

The party has denied changing its timetable in reaction to Ma's announcement.

In response to supporters cheering "Go for the presidency!" and "President Hsieh!" the former Kaohsiung mayor said he had listened to his supporters' calls for him to run and he would work hard to win.

He refused, however, to say whom he would like to see as a vice presidential running mate.

Asked to comment on a meeting between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to discuss the KMT's presidential nomination, Hsieh said he hoped the meeting was a success.

He also called on Ma not to make public appeals about his indictment on corruption charges.

"It's a judicial issue. The public did not see the evidence and has no right to conduct an investigation ... Political leaders should speak and act cautiously," Hsieh said, referring to Ma's condemnation of the prosecutors' who indicted him.

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