Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced that he will join the election for chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and vowed to open up a broader road for the party.
On the last day for registration yesterday, Su, accompanied by his wife Chan Hsiu-ling (詹秀齡), his three daughters and the party's Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), went to DPP Headquarters to sign up as a candidate for the party chairmanship after which he held a news conference to announce his decision to participate.
Su said he had already submitted his resignation as Presidential Office secretary-general to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
As one of the potential candidates to be appointed premier in the February Cabinet reshuffle, Su's announcement was unexpected. In his news conference, Su said in the light of the DPP's poor performance in last month's elections, he felt it was his duty to run for the leadership.
"When the DPP needs me, I'm obliged to come out and take on the duty of opening up a broader road for the party," he said. "In pursuit of the DPP's sustainable progress and the country's long-term development, I'm happy to shoulder the responsibility of party chairman."
Su said he will vow to lead the party to win every election for the next three years, including the presidential elections in 2008, should he win the chairmanship election.
Su said he agreed with President Chen's opinion that the DPP and the government have to be strong enough so that Chen could serve a president for the entire people with solid backing, and he was willing to assist the president to carry out his promise to the people of Taiwan.
Su also stressed that it was not Chen who asked him to campaign for the chairmanship.
"It was my own decision to compete for the chairmanship. I reported my decision to the president and obtained his support," Su said.
Su also clarified that he was not a member of the New Tide faction (新潮流), the best-organized and largest faction in the party, saying that he would never involve himself in factional politics.
When asked if he felt reluctant to campaign for the DPP chairmanship, Su took the example of his experience of playing rugby in college, saying that the best part of this sport is that team members always work together to cover their fellow members to score.
"Whoever gets the ball does not rush forward but has to pass it back to another team member. It is the team work that counts," Su said.
"To squat down is for a more powerful jump up. To step back is for an advance," Su said. "Individuals do not matter. If I become the chairman, I will go all-out to do the chairmanship job."
"Only by doing things well in the current position do we have a bright future," Su said.
Su has served in an important party post before, with a spell as DPP secretary-general from December 1993 to April 1995.