Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday maintained a low profile in response to questions on whether he would represent the party in the presidential election in 2008.
"There are many talent in the DPP who could be the party's presidential candidates, such as Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and many other people who have not yet announced their bid for the presidency," he said while attending the DPP's caucus meeting yesterday morning.
"It is more important to win the public's support," he said. "The [mayoral] election was just over. It's time to examine ourselves."
Hsieh said in a speech given at the DPP's caucus meeting that he felt ashamed for failing in the Taipei mayoral election last Saturday.
Hsieh's supporters had urged him to declare his bid to represent the party in the presidential election after losing to Chinese Nationalist Party candidate Hau Lung-bin (
Whether he will compete in the DPP primary has become the focus of discussion among DPP legislators, as prior to the mayoral election, Su was considered to be the party's front-runner for the presidential race.
Speaking at the caucus meeting, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) called Hsieh "the DPP's pride."
Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said that the DPP should elect its presidential candidate as soon as possible.
"It is obvious that the focus has turned from the `four heavyweights' [Lu, Su, Hsieh and Yu] to the `two green stars [Hsieh and Su],'" he said.
DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) said he hoped Su would not unite with "those fake reformists," referring to members of the DPP's former New Tide faction.
"If he does, he will not stand a chance of becoming the DPP's candidate," he said.
DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) said the pair should meet to discuss whether they should team up for the presidential election in 2008.
He added that Su may consider initiating the meeting as "he has more administrative resources than Hsieh."
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), however, urged his DPP colleagues to stop talking about who should be the party's presidential candidate, as "the public might think that the DPP is only good at running election campaigns or the party is too proud."
The party should instead focus on reviewing its own approach, he said, adding that the best approach was to return to the "middle-to-left" wing.
"Taiwanese are willing to give the DPP a chance because we are a reform-minded party," he said. "If we begin thinking about the next election and everyone's position, the public will not give us as many chances."
Meanwhile, the Cabinet yesterday said that whatever pair or team the DPP headquarters chooses to run in the presidential election, it would be a relationship based on cooperation rather than competition between the president and vice president candidates.
"The Cabinet will definitely respect the DPP headquarters' decision when the pair of candidates is decided in the near future," Government Information Office Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said on behalf of the premier when he was approached by reporters yesterday noon.
"We believe that such a decision will be made after a thorough consideration and discussion," he said.