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Tue, Jan 09, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP heavyweight scares contenders

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The presence of DPP heavyweight Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) is making other party members in his district who plan to run in December's legislative elections nervous.

"There is never an easy election battle, but Luo's joining the race will certainly make the competition keener," Lin Chung-mo (林重謨), an incumbent DPP lawmaker running for re-election in Taipei City, said yesterday.

Luo -- a leading DPP campaign strategist, longtime aide to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and vice chairman of the Council for Cultural Affairs -- officially announced on Sunday that he would resign from his Cabinet post to run in the December elections. Luo plans to stand for a seat representing the northern part of Taipei.

As a heavyweight political figure with longstanding close relations with Chen, Luo's decision poses a threat to his party comrades who plan to court the same constituency.

Lin said the first obstacle for legislative hopefuls was the primary contest, which is comprised of two parts: opinion polls and the votes of party members. Opinion polls account for 70 percent of a candidate's score, while member votes account for 30 percent.

"Luo will enjoy an overwhelming advantage in the opinion polls due to his high public popularity," Lin said.

Incumbent DPP lawmaker Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) told the Taipei Times that with Luo entering the race, the heat was definitely on.

"Being a renowned public figure, Luo is very likely to get so many votes as to edge out other party members who are not as notable," Cho said.

Luo said during a radio interview yesterday that the reason he chose to run in Taipei was because he was able to communicate with younger voters, and because "some political issues draw more attention when discussed in the city."

Luo said that the DPP could not expand its turf if it stuck to its loyal base of supporters, adding there was plenty of room to attract new votes to the party.

While he welcomed Luo's decision to join the race, Liu I-te (劉一德), director of the DPP's department of organizational development, said he was worried. He said it was possible the heavyweight would draw too many votes from other DPP candidates in the December elections -- thus giving a seat to the opposition that could otherwise be held by a DPP member.

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