Should loyalties to hometown voters supercede party policy? That is the question Taitung County Commissioner Hsu Ching-yuan (
In another instance of conflict caused by cross-party interests in the run-up to the legislative elections, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday confirmed that Hsu, a People First Party (PFP) member, was considering giving his support to the DPP's candidate in Taitung County.
The news has led the PFP to accuse the DPP of using its administrative advantage to exert pressure on Hsu by promising him resources for two major county construction projects. It has also fueled media speculation that a break between Hsu and the PFP is imminent.
Hsu said on Monday that any support he gives the DPP will be because he believes the DPP administration will give him the funds and assistance to expand Taitung's Fu-gang Harbor and widen the Southern Cross-Island Highway, projects Hsu had promised Taitung residents would be undertaken during his tenure.
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (
While the DPP has no plans to extend party membership to the Taitung County commissioner, he will appear onstage with President Chen Shui-bian (
PFP Chairman James Soong (
"This is not about a difference in party affiliation. It is about a difference in position," Soong said at a rally for the PFP's sole legislative candidate in Yunlin Country, Legislator Chen Chien-sung (陳劍松).
Soong said that, while he can understand Hsu Ching-yuan's determination to fulfill his promises to local voters, the PFP has promised the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that it would support its two candidates in Taitung County.
Hsu Ching-yuan has said he realizes the awkwardness of the situation and has told the party that he would rather drop out of the PFP voluntarily than create difficulties for the party, Soong said.
When asked whether he would be joining Chen on the campaign trail for Hsu Jui-kui, Hsu Ching-yuan said that he was still considering how to best balance integrity with party loyalties.
Representatives in Hsu Ching-yuan's office told the Taipei Times that Hsu Ching-yuan would be making a final decision about whether to help Hsu Jui-kui in his election campaign and about his status with the PFP in the next few days.
According to PFP spokesperson Hwang Yih-jiau (
"I believe that there is a tacit understanding that if Hsu supports the DPP's candidate, he will receive assistance. It is immoral for the DPP to force Hsu into doing this," Hwang said.
DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (