Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Premier Su announces presidential bid

SUCCESS THROUGH PERSEVERANCE The premier said he drew inspiration from Fort San Domingo's checkered history, but did not say whether he will quit his post

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

With Fort San Domingo (紅毛城) -- a famed historical site in Tamsui (淡水) -- as a backdrop, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced his intention to run in the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential primary.

"There is going to be a new chapter in Taiwan's history. The 2008 presidential election is about to start... At this moment in time, we're all on the historical stage and Tseng-chang is ready...I will run for president in 2008," Su said.

Su is the third DPP member to announce a presidential bid. Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun have said they would register next month to run in the party's primary.

Of the party's likely candidates, only Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) has not announced her candidacy.

Beginning his announcement with a brief history of Fort San Domingo, Su said his candidacy would ensure that the fort "did not come under new ownership." Fort San Domingo was built by the Spanish during their occupation of Taiwan in the early 17th century and then passed through the hands of Dutch colonialists, Ming Dynasty general Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功) and Qing Dynasty rulers.

The British then rented the fort for use as a trade consulate in 1867. While the British broke off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 1972, it was not until 1980 that ownership of the fort reverted to Taiwan.

Fort San Domingo is also known as Hung Mao Cheng, which literally means the "Fort of the Red-haired Foreigners," an allusion to its Western occupants.

"Hung Mao Cheng is the best witness to Taiwan's history and helps us to see how difficult history is: even the ownership of a building was repeatedly disputed," Su said.

"But from another point of view, the fact that Hung Mao Cheng now belongs to the Taiwanese shows that we can be successful if we persevere," Su added.

Su did not respond to questions about his choice of running mate or whether he will quit his post to concentrate on his campaign.

During a Formosa TV interview on Feb. 16, Su said that running for president while serving as premier shouldn't be a problem.

"President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) didn't quit his post [as DPP chairman] when he ran for [re-election in 2004]," Su said.

Meanwhile, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said he was not surprised that Su had announced his presidential bid.

"It [Su's participation in the DPP's presidential primary] is a good thing because the public and DPP members will have more options to choose from," Hsieh said.

"We [presidential hopefuls] all have to say what we really mean and be responsible [for our words] if we hope to lead Taiwan through a qualitative change," he said.

"Our statements past and present should all be examined [by the public]," DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said.

Yu, who spent yesterday hiking in Kaohsiung, also said he gave Su his blessing.

Yu said he would ask for leave after registering as a primary candidate on March 8.

He said that although the DPP's regulations did not stipulate that the chairperson should ask for leave after declaring his or her candidacy, he hoped to establish a precedent that would guarantee fair competition between the party's presidential rivals.

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