Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP faction berates Yu over Kaohsiung primary

SELECTION METHOD The DPP's biggest faction accused the party chairman of taking sides after he backed the use of polls to choose a candidate for the mayoral election

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former chairwoman of the Council of Labor Affairs Chen Chu, third from left in the back, waves at passersby in Kaohsiung yesterday while trying to drum up support for her potential candidacy in the Kaohsiung mayoral elections.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday strongly recommended using approval ratings to select the party's Kaohsiung mayoral candidate, sparking anger from some party members, who accused him of failing to remain impartial.

Although former Council of Labor Affairs chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊), who has registered in the Kaohsiung mayoral election primary, has strongly opposed using approval ratings as the criterion, the DPP yesterday morning announced that it would do its best to persuade Kaohsiung aspirants to accept using the results of surveys to choose a candidate.

Under the DPP's current primary mechanism, party members will vote on Sunday for their favored candidate. This will count for 30 percent in the selection process. A telephone survey of Kaohsiung residents -- scheduled for next month -- will count for the remaining 70 percent.

Yu said at a press conference that he had consulted some "important people" in the party about the new method and had gained their support.

"We would like to emphasize that only unity can lead to a victory and only negotiation could result in unity," Yu said. "We think that using a survey to settle on a candidate is the best way to find out the best hope for the DPP."

Yu added that the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections were crucial to the DPP's development and he was worried about the negative effect if the DPP failed to win the elections.

Therefore, Yu said, the DPP would try its best to coordinate with the three potential candidates -- DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and acting Kaohsiung Mayor Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) in addition to Chen -- before Sunday, when party members will vote.

"I believe that if each candidate moves backward a small step, this would help the whole party move forward a big step," Yu said.

But the New Tide faction, the largest of the DPP's factions and the one Chen Chu belongs to, responded negatively.

Former chief convener of the party's New Tide faction Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) yesterday afternoon held a news conference to question the identities of the "important people" Yu had mentioned. Tuan asked Yu to release their names, to prevent the Kaohsiung nomination from becoming the result of "secret chamber politics."

"Yu should be the judge in this game, but instead he has jumped into the game and tried to intervene in the outcome, which we think is not impartial at all," Tuan said.

Tuan urged the DPP to stick to its primary mechanism.

"If the DPP abandons its primary regulations, then I think it has lost a precious part of what it has earned," Tuan said.

Some other members of the DPP said that Yu was biased in favor of Yeh.

"I think the whole thing is because some people lack a democratic attitude," DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said yesterday. "We are sorry to see such conflicts staged in the DPP."

When asked about her reactions, Chen yesterday said that one of the reasons former DPP legislator Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) lost the Taipei County Commissioner election last December was that the DPP only used public approval ratings to select the candidate, choosing between Luo and Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元).

"Without a complete primary, Luo later had significant difficulties in winning recognition from local voters on the campaign trail, and the method was seen to have enraged the DPP's grassroots members," Chen Chu said.

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