Lu confirms she won't run for post

COUNT ME OUT: The vice president and acting DPP chair ruled herself out of the race for the party's top post after several days of rampant media speculation

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Sat, Dec 17, 2005 - Page 1

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced yesterday that she has no intention of running for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chair in the Jan. 15 by-election.

"I've never had any intention of entering the DPP chairmanship election. I only want to help party members conduct the election in a fair manner," Lu, said yesterday in a written statement issued by the DPP's culture and publicity department.

Lu also said in the statement that instead of entering the race, she was more interested in seeing the DPP elect a new leader who can "help revitalize the party, accelerate democratic reform and also help Taiwan meet all the challenges presented by globalization."

"As acting chairwoman, I will work with party members to improve the party's discipline, integrity and overall spirit," her statement read.

Lu was nominated as acting chairwoman during a DPP Central Standing Committee earlier this month after former chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) stepped down to take responsibility for the party's defeat in the local government elections.

Lu already created a stir earlier this week after announcing her intention to resign as acting chair but then deciding to stay in the post. Facing speculation that she may run for the chairmanship election, Lu clarified the issue yesterday with her statement.

Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), also a DPP Central Standing Committee member, threw his name into the ring yesterday by registering his candidacy, making him the first person to officially enter the chairmanship race.

"The DPP suffered a major setback in the elections because it has failed to insist on the ideals of `Taiwan first' and integrity first ? that is why I have decided to step forward and fight for a better future for Taiwan," he said yesterday while filling out the registration form and presenting the required deposit of NT$1.5 million (US$44,776) at the party's headquarters.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun, who Thursday made public his decision to run in the race, said yesterday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had already approved his resignation.

The party's chairmanship election promises to be a hotly-contested race with several DPP heavyweights expected to be among the candidates.

DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said party members who are interested in running for the post will be able to register from tomorrow until Dec. 20. A review of candidates' qualifications will be held on Dec. 21.

The results of the election will be announced on Jan. 18, Lee said.

A televised debate between the candidates is also scheduled.

In related news, an open letter addressed to all DPP members from former party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) yesterday said that it was inappropriate for those who have already served as either president, vice president, premier or DPP chairman to run in the Jan. 15 chairmanship race.