Mon, Jan 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP looks to Cabinet for success in local polls

YEAR-END ELECTIONS The DPP plans to recruit Cabinet members to vie in elections for county and city chiefs. The plan may also open up some positions in the new Cabinet for potential cooperation with the PFP

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh, left, yesterday distributes red envelopes to Kaohsiung residents at Sanfengchung Street, Kaohsiung's largest market selling dried goods for the Lunar New Year holiday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) encountered a setback in the legislative elections in December, it plans to make a comeback in the elections for county commissioners and city mayors at the end of the year by enlisting Cabinet-ranking officials as candidates.

"The 2005 Elections for county commissioners and city mayors will be a keen race with unprecedented competition because it is a skirmish for the 2008 presidential election," said Chen Chun-lin (陳俊麟), vice chairman of the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission. Chen is also the former chief of the DPP's public survey center and conducted polls for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) presidential election in 2000 and the re-election bid in 2004.

"The party that wins the year-end elections can be assured of its local power and further take victory in the 2008 presidency," Chen Chun-lin said.

The political turf occupied by the pan-blue camp and pan-green camp is already fixed, Chen Chun-lin said. For example, it will be difficult for the pan-blues to seize the DPP's territories in southern Taiwan; likewise, it will not be an easy task for the DPP to replace the pan-blues in northern Taiwan.

"We [the DPP] plan to secure our forces in southern Taiwan ... and go all out to take counties and cities in central Taiwan, such as in Taichung City, Taichung County and Yunlin County," Chen Chun-lin said.

Although the DPP's candidate for new chairman, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), yesterday said that the party has not yet completed its plans for the local elections, over the past week, parts of its strategy have gradually become clear, as several political heavyweights have announced their ambitions to run.

Earlier this month, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) announced he would actively seek the nomination for the candidacy of Taipei County Commissioner. Additionally, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南), from Ilan, yesterday also formally declared that he will run for the Ilan County Commissioner post again in response to "local folks' expectations." Chen previously served in the post from 1981 to 1989.

Although local newspapers reported that Lee would return to his home turf of Yunlin County to campaign for the county commissioner post there, Lee yesterday refuted this and reiterated his resolution to contend for the seat of Taipei County Commissioner.

"It is clear to me to campaign for the Taipei County Commissioner, which is also part of my political career plan," Lee said.

Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Council Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) is said to be the most likely candidate for Taichung County, since Chiu served as a legislator representing Taichung County for 12 years and earned a good reputation there.

In Taichung City, Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), director of the Government Information Office and former Cabinet spokesman, is planning to compete with incumbent Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who is a senior member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Chairman of the Council of Hakka Affairs Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) is regarded as a hopeful for Taipei City Mayor or Taipei County Commissioner, and Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) is expected to campaign for either the Taipei County Commissioner or Kaohsiung City Mayor nomination.

"The DPP will start its primaries in April and will finalize the nomination list in June. Before the primary result comes out, any names that you hear are not the final ones," Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱), a DPP deputy secretary-general, said yesterday.

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