Former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday reaffirmed his determination to run in the year-end local elections, saying he would not back down or run as an independent.
Chen told reporters in Taipei yesterday that he could not quit now and that it was not necessary for him to drop out of the party to run in the Tainan County commissioner election as an independent.
It was not democratic for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to nominate someone else simply because it wanted to distance itself from former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), he said, adding that Tainan residents just wanted to elect a good commissioner.
“The person does not have to be a DPP member, or Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] or independent,” he said. “But that person must be damn good.”
Mark Chen said since he served as Tainan County commissioner for eight years, most residents knew how good he was.
He said DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had never told him personally why she did not nominate him, but it only made sense to nominate the person leading in the opinion polls.
Speculation is rife that Tsai did not nominate Mark Chen because she wanted to distance herself from the former president, who expressed the hope that Mark Chen would represent the party in the election.
Mark Chen said that he could not fathom why he could not have a close relationship with the former president.
There were also calls for him to give the younger generation a chance to run. Mark Chen, however, said that if the argument held water, they should also ask former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) not to run.
“The party must respect public opinion, not ignore it,” he said. “If a government cannot take care of the majority of poor people, it cannot protect the minority of the rich.”
While some have criticized him for not setting his sights on a more important position, such as president, Mark Chen said that a big shot should take care of the problems of the common man.
Besides, a “small county commissioner” has many things to do, he said.