Mon, May 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP primary elections bubble over with new talent

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The first period of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) primary elections before nominating candidates to run for the year-end legislative elections ended yesterday, with over 126 members vying for the 89 available seats -- making this the most exciting election competition in the party's history.

"Our goal is to win 100 seats, including 89 elected from all 22 constituencies, at least nine legislators-at-large seats and two Aboriginal seats," said DPP Secretary General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

According to the DPP's plan, the pan-green alliance will become a stable majority in the Legislative Yuan after the December elections, if the party gets over 100 seats and its ally -- the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- increases its seats from 12 to 20 or more.

To organize the majority alliance, the pan-green alliance needs to win at least 113 legislator seats out of the total of 225. Seeing that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) increased his support from 39 percent in the 2000 presidential election to 50 percent this year, the DPP is confident that it could promote more of its young elite to run in the legislative elections.

The keenest competition is in the two constituencies in Taipei, where 17 candidates are competing for 10 nominations.

"Almost all the party's famous political stars gathered in the capital, not to mention that our opponents from other political parties are also all top guys," said Legislator Tuan Yi-kan (段宜康), an incumbent elected from Taipei's southern constituency.

The other DPP young elite in these constituencies include Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) -- elected from overseas Taiwanese and former head of the DPP's international affairs department, and Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) -- aide of Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and former head of the DPP's culture and information department.

Some senior Taipei councilors, who have been invited to join the Cabinet or decided to run for the legislator-at-large seats also registered in the legislative primary elections.

Because Chen won reelction, a lot of senior DPP legislators are slated to join the government and leave opportunities for the young elite.

"I was told by the president this afternoon during a phone call that I will be invited by Premier Yu Shyi-kun to serve as Cabinet member, charged with diplomatic or national defense affairs," Parrish Chang (張旭成) said yesterday afternoon.

Chang, who has been repeatedly mentioned by the media as a possible choice for minister of foreign affairs, representative to the US or head of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, originally plan-ned to register as candidate in the Chiayi constituency.

Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟), who was elected in Taipei County's first constituency, withdrew from the primary elections, saying that he is willing to serve as vice chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs.

Three senior DPP lawmakers, Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉), Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Chiu Tai-shan (邱太三), have promised to join the Executive Yuan. Lo will be the new chairman of the Council for Hakka Affairs.

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