One day after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) decided to retain its original primary election mechanism to select a candidate for the Kaohsiung mayoral election, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling announced that she was withdrawing from the race and would campaign for former Council of Labor Affairs chairwoman Chen Chu instead.
Kuan’s withdrawal leaves Chen as the party’s only candidate since acting Kaohsiung Mayor Yeh Chu-lan did not sign up for the primary as had been expected.
Kuan declared her withdrawal at noon yesterday at her campaign office in Kaohsiung City, surrounded by her husband and many supporters.
“For the sake of DPP unity, I am stopping all my electioneering as of this moment,” Kuan said as tears streamed down her face.
“Although the controversy over the nominations for the Kaohsiung mayoral election has not ended, I think the [party’s] primary process should be halted right now because I am dropping out the election voluntarily,” she said.
However, Kuan said Chen faced a major problem — how to unite the DPP’s divergence of opinion about Chen’s candidacy.
When asked if she would give her support to Chen, Kuan replied, “without question.”
Yeh later arrived at Kuan’s news conference to give her support to Kuan. Yeh praised Kuan’s efforts and sacrifice for the DPP.
Later in the day Chen issued a news release urging all party members to vote in the primary on Sunday, and acknowledging Kuan’s decision.
“I will visit Kuan in person and seek her support. I hope she could offer her suggestions about the Kaohsiung election,” Chen said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), meanwhile, will this weekend choose whom is to represent the party in the Kaohsiung mayoral election.
The KMT’s Kaohsiung primary will be held tomorrow. There are seven hopefuls — including former Kaohsiung mayor Huang Chun-ying — vying for the party’s nomination. Huang lost to the DPP’s candidate, former premier Frank Hsieh, in the last mayoral election.
Meanwhile, Hsieh, whose “polls and coordinations” proposal was rejected at the DPP’s Central Executive Committee meeting, told reporters “Don’t wait for me” to enter Taipei’s mayoral campaign.
Hsieh had hoped to field Yeh as a candidate in Kaohsiung as a means of boosting the party’s chances of winning in that city and as a precondition of him running in the Taipei mayoral race.