Aspiring Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday said that he would try to convince his top campaign aide to serve as the deputy of his rival, former vice premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), if Tsai were to win the contest to head the party.
Koo said he promised Tsai during a private meeting on Yangmingshan that he would try to convince Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), former secretary-general of the Presidential Office, to serve as DPP vice chairman should Tsai win the election.
“But there is no guarantee [that he will listen to me],” Koo said.
Blaming the party’s defeat in the presidential election on a loss of faith by supporters, Koo said that he could bring back trust if he were to lead the party.
“But I cannot do it alone,” Koo said. “So I asked Tsai to be my deputy.”
Koo said that Chen agreed with him in this regard.
“It is not easy to convince her,” the 82-year-old said. “It might be easier if I were 40 years younger.”
Koo said he thought it would be a plus if the two were to work as a team and that it was the expectation of many people that they work together, taking into consideration that he is an “old man” who is firm, determined and stubborn and Tsai is a “girl” who is young, smart and creative.
Koo said that he and Tsai had mutual respect for one another.
Meanwhile, Tsai yesterday expressed concern over the possibility that the DPP would become “a party of the south” and vowed to develop the party into a national one.
Tsai promised, if elected, to effectively deal with the problems of factional infighting, corruption and nominal party members.
Tsai, who was campaigning in Kaohsiung and Tainan yesterday, told party officials after hearing their suggestions that to ensure party unity, she would enact a code of conduct to regulate party members and draw a clear line between constructive criticism and personal attacks.
On factional issues, Tsai said that she suspected factional infighting would gradually dwindle because there would be very few resources to fight about now that the party is in opposition.
“The party has nothing much left but its name,” she said, adding that vitality and solidarity are the DPP’s biggest assets.
Tsai said she was also against nominal party membership and vowed to create a system to tackle corruption.
In other developments, chiefs of the seven counties and cities governed by the DPP, all of them in the south, yesterday decided to meet regularly and exchange views following the party’s recent defeats.
They decided to let Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) chair the meetings, dubbed “summits of southern leaders” as Kaohsiung is the DPP-controlled area with the highest administrative status.
They also promised to use their influence to ask the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration to allocate more resources to their constituencies.
Meanwhile, Chen Chu yesterday said that she would support Tsai in the chairmanship race.
“She is a young DPP member with a great reputation and an ideal public image. This is the right person to fit our policy of passing the torch to the next generation,” Chen said.
The mayor made her remarks after meeting Tsai at her residence around 1:20pm yesterday.
In addition to showing her support for Tsai, Chen also urged her fellow DPP members to reunite.