Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 1 News List

DPP primary process agreed upon

FACILITATOR:Caucus whip Ker Chien-ming played a key role in the negotiations after he persuaded William Lai that Ko Wen-je should be included in the polls for comparison

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Then-premier William Lai speaks to reporters at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on May 29 last year, left, and President Tsai Ing-wen leaves a National Security Council meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei on May 10 in a composite image.

Photos: Chu Pei-hsiung and Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The mechanisms for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential primary were settled yesterday, including to conducting public opinion polls on both landlines and mobile phones.

Officials in President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) camp said that the process best reflects the current political situation and would yield the strongest candidate for the party.

After deliberation at a DPP Central Executive Committee meeting, a consensus was reached that the two opinion polls would count for 50 percent each and that they would take place from June 10 to June 14.

Tsai and former premier Willam Lai (賴清德) agreed to hold one televised presentation at a date to be fixed by the party executive, committee members who were at the meeting confirmed.

The third main condition was to have contrasting polling, to compare the popular support for Tsai and Lai, as well as to compare their support with the two potential presidential hopefuls from outside of the party — Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), an independent.

“We want to thank the Central Executive Committee members for making progress on the party’s primary process, with no more delays. It shows that we still cherish the party’s founding spirit and its democratic mechanisms,” said DPP Taipei City Councilor Ruan Jhao-syong (阮昭雄), who is also Tsai’s primary bid spokesman.

“We respect the consensus reached at the committee through democratic means, which best reflects the current political situation ... from which the outcome can determine our party’s strongest candidate,” Ruan said.

“It is our wish to carry out the primary process in a rational and harmonious way since it is most important for the DPP to unite to win the 2020 election,” he added.

DPP spokesman Lii Wen (李問) said at a news conference after the meeting said that conditions for the opinion polls reflected changes in society whereby the use of mobile phones has replaced the use of landlines.

Committee members also agreed to update some provisions in the party’s internal mechanism for the “candidate nomination process through public surveys” to give a better indication of the level of support of each candidate, Lii said.

It was decided to “conduct polls with no less than 3,000 samples, with both landlines and mobile phones at no less than 1,500 samples each,” Lii added.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) played a key role in the negotiations after he phoned Lai before the meeting and persuaded him that Ko should be included in the polls for comparison, among other issues, committee members said.

DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲), who represents Lai’s camp, said that he does not accept the outcome and he wanted the minutes of the meeting to record that he opposed it.

“On behalf of Lai, we want to express our regret,” Lin said.

“The Central Executive Committee meeting changed the rules of the game, which ran counter to the wishes of the affected party... It is a bad precedent to change the rules halfway through the primary process. This might have done serious harm to the fairness of the party’s primary process,” he said.

This story has been updated since it was first published.

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