Former vice premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) faces tough challenges as she tries to revive the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Tsai will be the DPP’s first female leader, after winning the chairmanship vote on Sunday over former senior presidential advisor Koo Kuang-ming (辜寬敏) with 57.14 percent of the vote to Koo’s 37.81 percent. Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) won 5.05 percent, even though he had pulled out of the race last week in favor of Koo.
On Sunday night, Tsai said that when she takes office tomorrow she will begin a series of visits to solicit opinions from grassroots groups, civic reform groups and opinionmakers in various fields.
She said the party would continue to pursue its ideals of protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty, deepening Taiwan’s young democracy and promoting social equity. She said she is convinced that with devoted service to the people, the DPP will be able to rebuild the public’s trust and get back on its feet.
Outgoing DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said the smooth election of a new party head was “the first step toward our recovery” following the party’s losses in the legislative and presidential elections.
He praised Koo for his sportsmanship and democratic approach, after Koo conceded defeat when the vote count showed him to be trailing Tsai by more than 20,000 votes.
DPP legislative whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said Tsai must step up efforts to integrate various factions within the party — work that should include mending ties with Koo and his staunch supporters, he said.
She must map out directions and strategies for party reform and strengthen interaction with the legislative caucus, Ker said.
Next year’s mayoral and county commissioner elections will be the first test of Tsai’s leadership, Ker said, suggesting that DPP headquarters should set up a think tank that could pool the resources and strengths of both the headquarters and caucus.
Praising Tsai as a resourceful woman capable of finding ways to realize ideals, Ker called on all DPP members and supporters to back her and help her raise the party from the ashes of its defeats.
DPP legislative whip William Lai (賴清德) praised both Tsai and Koo for their efforts to avoid creating new factional strife during their campaign.
“The peaceful conclusion of the election marks a good start for our party’s revival,” he said.
Lai said he hoped the party would form a clean governance commission to promote integrity and political ethics.
Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday hailed Tsai’s election and promised to give her party reform proposals their full support.