Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Tearful Wang Ding-yu quits legislative race

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Greater Tainan Councilor Wang Ding-yu cries yesterday after announcing that he will not be running in January’s legislative elections.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Greater Tainan Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday tearfully announced he would no longer seek a legislative nomination at the urging of senior party officials.

Looking tired and agitated, the five-term councilor said he would drop the bid in the “DPP’s best interests,” despite winning the primary in the city’s fifth electoral district.

“Local polls have given me a two-to-one lead over the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] candidate. There are many ways I can convince supporters and even myself to continue this battle, but I cannot do this because the 2012 presidential election is more important,” he told a press conference.

Wang said he had considered the issue for the past three months. In April, he was involved in a charity scandal that he has accused DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), the rival he defeated in the primaries, of instigating.

The previous month, Wang took 32.9 percent support in the poll against Lee’s 28.7 percent, widely seen as an upset victory in the wake of a damaging and divisive campaign.

His status as a legislative candidate was first put in doubt last month when a DPP disciplinary committee slapped a six-month probation period on Wang and a two-month period on Lee, saying that their spat during the charity scandal had damaged the party’s reputation.

DPP regulations remain unclear on whether Wang, suspended until November, could have received the official nomination in time for the January elections.

Just days earlier on Saturday, it became apparent that the DPP was looking to find another candidate to fill the void. Mark Chen (陳唐山), a former Tainan county commissioner, said he had been approached by DPP officials to run in the district.

DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) yesterday refused to confirm the report, but said a party task force was now looking to choose another nominee for the district.

“Basically, we are back to square one and we are looking at all possibilities,” Lin said.

The move to urge a winner of a party primary to drop his bid was a delicate issue for the DPP as it seeks to consolidate its vote in the district, a pan-green stronghold. Wang holds widespread support among grassroots DPP supporters in the area.

However, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other party leaders had grown increasingly worried that any interpretation of party regulations in Wang’s favor could have taken time and led to another wave of controversy.

DPP officials confirmed it was Tsai who personally made the request for Wang to withdraw. The two appeared at a joint press conference, with the DPP presidential candidate praising the Greater Tainan councilor for “looking at the bigger picture.”

“I want to thank Wang ... for making the decision to back down in order to avoid any more intra-party strife. The 2012 elections are very important for the DPP and for Taiwan; we hope we can acquire the maximum support possible in Greater Tainan,” she said.

Tsai’s request and Wang’s standing down are almost sure to have repercussions for the DPP, especially given the wide range of support Wang commands inside and outside the party in the district.

At a broadcast program yesterday evening, former presidential office secretary-general Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), a Wang ally, lashed out at the party, saying that it could “no longer stand up to its own conscience” and called its decision against Wang “a mistake.”

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