Top Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials have decided to delay the start of the party’s presidential primary from Friday to May 22, with the time frame for a public opinion poll to be worked out later, DPP Secretary-General Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) said yesterday after a meeting of the DPP Central Executive Committee.
Meanwhile, a five-member mediation panel would confer with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her challenger, former premier William Lai (賴清德), to finalize the process to determine the DPP’s candidate for next year’s presidential election.
The proposal to delay the primary was raised at the meeting and passed without opposition, “so the committee members will all bear responsibility together,” Luo said, adding that it would “foster unity within our party, without making changes or interrupting the primary process.”
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
There have been serious concerns of a major crisis developing that could lead to the party splitting up, as Lai, who has insisted that there should be no change to the party’s primary process, has mounted a strong challenge to Tsai for the nomination.
The panel and other key party officials have reportedly been negotiating a Tsai-Lai ticket, in which the former premier would be the vice presidential candidate.
“At the end of the meeting, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) called on party members to use the additional time to confer and coordinate between the two sides, not for further confrontation and fighting,” Luo said. “Strong-arm tactics will not achieved the desired result of coordination.”
Luo quoted Cho as saying: “We urge Tsai and Lai, our party’s two presidential candidate hopefuls, to keep their supporters from feuding and not to attack each other. All party officials must take a neutral stance and should no longer make public displays of support for either camp.”
Following the party’s announcement, Lai issued a statement titled: “No backing down from the arbitrary; Insistence on my original conviction; and Stay in the race all the way.”
He expressed regret over the delay, saying that “the committee is making changes for a second time. The move is a serious blow to the DPP and has invalidated our party’s founding value of democracy.”
Lai said that he disagreed with the delay, adding: “I was not consulted beforehand about this decision.”
“When I entered into the presidential primary process, I intended to gather wide support from all sides and to pick up the political burden for Taiwan,” he said.
“I knew at the time that there would be many difficulties ahead. Whether these come from within the party or from outside, I will face them with all my courage,” Lai added.
Primaries had been a mechanism that the DPP could be proud of, Lai said.
“It is the biggest difference between us and other political parties, which only have one voice and no dissent,” he said. “However, now our party regards it as a fearful beast to be avoided, or compares it to two trains on a collision course.”
The primary process allows both camps to debate the party’s path, and brings out competing ideas and new concepts, Lai said, adding that afterward, “we can still find common ground for unity, to work together toward a better future and together take up the political responsibility for Taiwan.”
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient