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Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - Page 3 News List

Chen's choice for VP runs into factional hot water

CAMPAIGN 2000 The most likely choice continues to rankle DPP faction leaders, while presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian insists he still hasn't made up his mind

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that he would announce his running mate before Sept. 28 to mark the party's 13th anniversary celebrations.

Meanwhile, DPP faction leaders have raised objections to Chen's likely choice of a running mate, Taoyuan County commissioner Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Chen began consulting party senior leaders on the issue yesterday in an apparent effort to convince them to support Lu as the party's vice presidential candidate.

However, he still refused to confirm publicly whether he has already made his choice.

"I certainly have a direction and a mindset for choosing my running mate, but the final decision will not be made right now," Chen told reporters after a meeting with party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄).

At the same time, Lin explained that according to party regulations, the presidential candidate has the right to choose his or her own running mate. Lin also stressed that he would help Chen dispel potential prejudice among other party members.

"Chen did ask me about the `Chen-Lu' ticket, but he also mentioned other possible combinations. Lu is an excellent colleague, but the party also has many other fine choices. I think Chen has still not decided for the moment," Lin said.

Meanwhile, DPP faction leaders complained about Chen's decision- making process, saying that he should have consulted with them before leaking his choice to the media.

"The presidential election is not just Chen's personal business -- it is the task for the entire party. Therefore, Chen should not fail to consult with party leaders," said Yao Chia-wei (姚嘉文), former DPP chairman and leader of the Welfare State Alliance.

New Tide Alliance leader Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said that Chen appears to have already decided, but he also suggested that it was not necessary for Chen to hurry in making a decision.

"I think until November at least, Chen should look for a proper choice outside the party. Whether we win or lose the presidential election may depend on three to five percent of the vote," Wu said.

"We cannot choose the wrong person as the party's vice presidential candidate. However, we will respect Chen's decision," he said.

DPP lawmaker Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) added her voice to the opposition.

"If Chen is ready to pick a running mate from inside the party, he should announce his decision as soon as possible to minimize potential opposition later on," she said.

Party leaders also criticized Lu's character, saying she was an assertive politician and not easy to work with.

"Lu always persists in her own opinions. Moreover, she may bring a lot of controversy and arguments to Chen's campaign," said DPP lawmaker Chou Po-lun (周伯倫).

Chou and colleague Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏), both leaders of the New Era Institute faction, said Chen should choose a better person, such as former Hsinchu County commissioner Feng Cheng-chung (范振宗) or former Taipei deputy mayor Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), who served under Chen.

"If Chen wanted to get more Hakka votes, Feng is a good choice. Otherwise Chen Shih-meng is also an excellent candidate for representing mainlanders," Chang said.

Many senior party leaders appeared worried about Lu's style -- worries they expressed yesterday during both the party's weekly central standing committee meeting and at a separate meeting of Chen's campaign staff.

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