Former premier Frank Hsieh (
After discussing the issue with President Chen Shui-bian (
"I told the president that there are many big hitters in the party, and that no matter who comes out to represent us, we will win if we unite together and lose if we don't," he said.
Hsieh jokingly said that he might throw his backing behind People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (
Yesterday's meeting came one day after Hsieh returned from his short-term study at Harvard University. In addition to discussing the elections, Hsieh said that he briefed Chen on his just-concluded overseas trip.
Hsieh said that he was hesitant to run for office because he was yet to see a concrete election strategy for the party. He also said that he did not feel strongly about the election.
He would accept the challenge with pleasure if his candidacy formed part of the party's strategic plan, Hsieh said.
"The condition is that the party has to be unanimous on the matter," he said.
Hsieh said that he told Chen during the meeting that the party still stood a chance of winning the Taipei mayoral election, although it would be a tough battle. The prospects for success in the Kaohsiung mayoral election, on the other hand, were better because of the nature of the electorate there, he said.
As the DPP plans to hold a cross-faction meeting in the near future to solicit opinions from high-ranking party heavyweights on the elections and other issues, Hsieh said that the president told him that he hoped the former premier would participate.
When asked to comment on Hsieh's meeting with the president, former DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (
"I think what Hsieh wanted was to highlight his own importance and to cast himself as the one and the only candidate who could win for the DPP," Shen said. "He wants everyone to ask him to run in the election on the expectation that unanimity will give the party some momentum."
"I think that Hsieh will agree to campaign [for Taipei mayor] as long as the conditions he set for his participation are met," Shen added.
But Shen did not believe that Chen and Hsieh had reached a deal.
"Elections are complicated and troublesome. They are not as simple as you may imagine. But we could know the outcome [of the meeting] in about five days' time," Shen said.
The DPP will hold its registration for the primaries for the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections from today through Friday.
Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said that the meeting between the president and the former premier was a positive development. Yu said such an event could promote the DPP's flagging image and create unity.
As for the nominees for the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections, Yu repeated that the DPP's primaries would reveal the perfect candidates.