Mon, Jul 11, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP’s legislator-at-large list is final: Tsai Ing-wen

DONE DEAL:Party officials said that with a total of just 16 ‘safe’ legislator-at-large seats, it was inevitable that many good candidates would not be included

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen shakes hands with supporters during a campaign event in Sinjhuang District, New Taipei City, yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said she would continue to “listen carefully” to dissenting opinions over the party’s list of -legislator-at-large candidates released last month, but maintained that the nominations were final.

Some have complained that the list, which was approved by a party committee on June 30, does not include enough civic representatives and has too many career politicians, including three of her former spokespersons.

Earlier in the day, the Taiwan Democracy Watch, an umbrella -organization of civic groups, said it was “surprised” by the DPP nominations and that the party had missed an opportunity to include several civic figures that would have broadened its base.

Despite refusing to discuss individual names, the organization is believed to have been referring to people such as DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), a women’s equality advocate, who was not included in the top 16 places — considered the “safe list” — of the DPP at-large roster, making her re-election unlikely.

Party officials have pointed to the lack of guaranteed spots — the DPP elected 14 out of 34 nominated legislators-at-large in 2008, but is looking to gain at least two more seats next year — as the reason why several influential politicians and highly ranked lawmakers were also left off the safe list.

Huang, a two-term at-large legislator, was given top marks last month by the non-partisan Citizen Congress Watch, a legislative watchdog, for her work on the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

Speaking at a discussion organized by the Taiwan Democracy Watch, Academia Sinica researcher Wu Nai-teh (吳乃德) said that seasoned politicians on the roster should have run in local elections, leaving the at-large seats for activists and civic representatives who might not otherwise have a chance to be elected.

“Nominating civic figures as -legislators-at-large is a symbolic move and provides different avenues for a party to develop itself,” said Wu, a sociology research fellow. “It is wrong to believe that these people, just because they represent the disadvantaged, will not make good politicians.”

While the safe list does include civic figures such as Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如), an advocate for the disabled who was listed as No. 1 for the second time, critics said that most other spots on the safe list went to long-time politicians such as Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), a DPP spokesperson; Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), a former party deputy secretary-general; former lawmaker and close aide of former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡); DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and former lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康).

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