The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to complete its nominations for the year-end elections for mayor and county commissioner next month, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it would stick to a “go-slow” strategy as it seeks “suitable” candidates.
DPP official said the party had decided not to hold a primary to select its nominees and has empowered the party’s leadership to make the choices.
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said the nomination process would be based on guidelines laid out by DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that said the nominees must be strong enough to win, have a good public image and be true to the DPP’s values.
The party will field a candidate in each of the 23 counties and cities that will hold elections, while the nominees in 11 localities have already been selected, Hung said.
Among the localities where a candidate has not yet been selected are Taipei County, Tainan County and Chiayi County — areas where the races are expected to be highly competitive.
In Taipei County, Tsai and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) are considered two of the most suitable choices for the commissioner election, DPP officials said.
But Tsai has ruled out running for the post, and Su, a former Taipei County commissioner, has said he has no plans at this time to join the race. Under these circumstances, former national policy adviser Huang Yueh-sui (黃越綏), who has expressed an interest in running for the post, is likely to vie for the party’s nomination, the officials said.
In Tainan County, although former commissioner and former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山), 74, tops other DPP politicians in terms of support ratings, there are differences within the party over whether he should run again in light of his advanced age, the officials said.
In Chiayi County, incumbent commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) has strongly opposed a bid by his wife, Liao Su-hui (廖素惠), to compete in the next election, the officials said, adding that the situation has greatly increased the odds of Legislator Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠) winning the party’s nomination.
On Saturday, Tsai said the party was confident of winning commissioner elections in Yunlin and Kaohsiung County late this year.
“The residents in the two counties have been satisfied with the performances of the incumbent DPP commissioners, so the party is confident of continuing with the two,” Tsai told reporters while leading a bicycle tour event in Chiayi County.
Meanwhile, KMT officials said the KMT would stick to a “go-slow” strategy, with the goal of winning southern localities currently governed by the DPP.
The officials said that while the DPP would complete its nominations for the elections next month, the KMT would conclude its nomination process in early June.
Given the DPP’s high popularity in southern Taiwan, it is crucial that the KMT fields “suitable” candidates who stand out in terms of integrity, public image and service to local residents, they said.
The importance of choosing the right candidates was driven home with last year’s presidential election, in which the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) garnered over 50 percent of the votes in the southern cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan and more than 48 percent of the votes in the southern counties of Pingtung, Kaohsiung and Yunlin, the officials said.