Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DDP chairmanship race slowly beginning to heat up

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) announced his intention to enter the race for the DPP chairmanship yesterday.

In a written statement, Chai, a pro-independence DPP stalwart, said it was his mission to enter the chairmanship race to "safeguard the DPP's founding ideals and ensure that the DPP will continue to be in power after 2008."

Meanwhile, Presidential Office officials said yesterday that Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun may also consider running for the post of DPP chairman if he receives the clear and full support of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Since Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) was selected as the party's acting chairperson on Wednesday by the party's Central Standing Committee, several factions have been considering whether to take part in the party's leadership race next month.

Some political commentators have said the temporary leader would not be the next official party chairperson because it has been customary for the acting chairperson not to run for the post.

They also said that the president intends to have one of his proteges join the election race and that Yu is one of the potential candidates.

Yesterday, Yu met briefly with Chen at the Presidential Office. Although Yu kept silent about the content of the discussion, sources said that Yu has been asking around to gauge opinion on his joining the race.

Lu clarified her stance yesterday, saying that she would not run. Lu also expressed her encouragement for Yu's decision.

"I think it's a good idea," Lu said.

Yu has been urged by some high-ranking party officials to run for chairman. Yu promised to think it over.

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) had been considered the ideal candidate for DPP chairman. However, Chang has expressed his unwillingness by using his ill health as an excuse.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) voiced his support for Chai's bid, saying that Chai's personality and aptitude make him a suitable candidate for the job.

Giving a thumbs-up to Chai's suitability for the position, Mark Chen commended Chai as a "committed person" who would be able to tackle the chaos the party is facing.

"I know Chai very well. He is the kind of person who fully commits himself to things he feels passionate about. His personality is very suitable for this job," the foreign minister told reporters on Tuesday night during a visit with a delegation of ambassadors to Nantou County.

Additional reporting by Chang Yun-ping

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