Wed, Dec 17, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Wu Yi-chen yields to Sunflower Chen in Miaoli poll

STEPPING ASIDE:Wu announced her withdrawal from the election a day after her campaign team had called possible cooperation with Chen Wei-ting ‘despicable’

By Su Fang-ho and Fu Chao-piao  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yi-chen yesterday tells reporters in Taipei that she will not enter the Miaoli legislative by-election.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) yesterday said that she would not contest the legislative by-election in Miaoli in February next year and praised former Sunflower movement student leader Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) for his decision to join the race, where non-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates normally face a tough battle.

Following Chen’s announcement of his intention to run as an independent candidate in the by-election, the DPP’s office in Miaoli and Wu’s campaign team separately voiced objections to the DPP’s possible cooperation with the student activist.

Wu, who ran as DPP candidate for Miaoli County commissioner in the Nov. 29 election, but lost, apologized for the emotional response from her campaign team, which held a press conference on Monday saying that Chen is not Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and calling the headquarters’ move to yield the candidacy to Chen “despicable.”

Wu said the team only wanted local opinions to be heard and hoped the party center would see their efforts at the local level, adding that she would support anyone the DPP decides to.

At the press conference, Wu also showed a photograph from the Sunflower movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber in March and April, in which she, one of the DPP lawmakers who quickly assumed the role of guarding the chamber from the police, is seen pulling Chen away from the police.

“Chen is the pride of the Miaoli people; we are both fighting for Miaoli,” said Wu, adding that she did not regret having pulled Chen from the police simply because they were now in competition.

Separately, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), the convener of the DPP’s election response measure committee, said he would visit Miaoli with committee members to gather local opinions on the candidates. The DPP’s candidate is to be decided on Wednesday next week, either by the party on its own, or in cooperation with civic groups.

Meanwhile, in Miaoli, Chen announced that his campaign team is in place in the county and would start consulting local elders this week and holding campaign events next week.

The team also plans to visit Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung to invite young people who have left Miaoli for work or study to return home to volunteer and vote for change, he said.

Chen said he would welcome Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) of the KMT to compete in the by-election, calling on the KMT to speed up its candidate-fielding process so its selection can come under the electorate’s scrutiny.

Chen once hurled a shoe at Liu in protest over Liu’s government’s seizure and demolition of residents’ houses for a city development project, which Chen said was really a cover for the local government’s land speculation.

Chen was later charged and fined for throwing the shoe.

Chen called the legislative by-election “a make-up exam for the KMT after its defeat,” saying that the KMT’s candidate could be a reflection of the extent of so-called party reform that has been advocated by New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), who is seeking the KMT chairmanship.

Chen thanked Wu for her withdrawal and said he would run as an independent instead of becoming a DPP member.

He said that was not out of political calculation, but a decision made out of his opposition to the KMT, along with his doubts about the DPP’s own reforms.

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