President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday dismissed media reports that quoted him as saying he favored Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) over the other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bigwigs vying for the nomination for next year's presidential election.
A report in yesterday's Chinese-language Apple Daily alleged that Chen had met with influential DPP politicians who control vote banks in the party. Chen urged them to support Su so that Su could defeat former premier Frank Hsieh (
Approached by the press for comments, Chen dismissed the report as "nonsense" and said he would not promote a candidate in the primary.
It was important to remain "neutral," Chen said.
Earlier yesterday, the Presidential Office issued a press release saying that the president had not chosen to promote a certain candidate.
"The president hopes the party will nominate the best candidate with the best chance of winning through a fair and honorable competition," the press release said.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), one of the four DPP contenders, said she did not believe the president favored one candidate.
"If the president really does, I believe he would tell all of us," Lu said. "I think the president has either been misunderstood or his remarks were purposely distorted by some people."
When approached for comments yesterday, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, another DPP presidential hopeful, said he had no knowledge of Chen favoring a specific candidate and therefore would not comment on the matter.
When asked by reporters whether the party would take an "abandon one candidate to save another" strategy in the presidential primary, Yu said: "It is impossible for those who support me to abandon me."
Yu said the DPP's presidential primary was a competition between candidates with different approaches to the nation's problems.
"It is impossible for supporters to abandon a candidate who would like to normalize the nation but support a candidate who claims there is a one-China principle in the current Constitution," he said.
Yu said, however, that if an "abandon-save" phenomenon were to arise, supporters would vote for him because he proposed a clear path for the nation to become a normalized country.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang
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