Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Mark Chen already campaigning at grassroots level

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mark Chen (陳唐山), former Presidential Office secretary-general, yesterday said he had started working on his campaign at the grassroots level to rally voters for the year-end Tainan County commissioner race, despite his failure to clinch a nomination from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Chen, in his 70s, said his constituents gave him the highest approval rating in the nation during five of his eight years as the former Tainan County commissioner. Therefore the DPP’s decision to block him from running would likely cause a backlash among the public, he said.

Chen, along with DPP legislators Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅), vied for the nomination, but it eventually went to Lee, which ignited vehement protests from Chen.

The party ignored Chen’s repeated requests that DPP headquarters base its selection on the results of a public opinion poll. DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said the decision was finalized and that all DPP members should unite behind Lee.

In an effort to woo Chen’s support, Lee asked the “old commissioner” to give the younger generation a chance on a roadside billboard.

Speaking to the media, Chen said the public viewed Lee as ill-prepared and thus the torch should be given to a more “experienced” individual.

“The deficit accrued by the Tainan County government is in the billions. Anyone would have a difficult time taking over the post. The reason why I have such high support is because the constituents have confidence in my ability to address the financial crisis,” he said, vowing a financial overhaul to build sufficient reserves for the marginalized population if he was elected.

Asked if he feared disciplinary actions from the DPP for participating in the race, Chen said: “That’s a problem for the party to handle. [My goal] is to follow the will of the people.”

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