Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Lu open to election talk with Tsai

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she would be willing to drop her presidential bid pending negotiations with senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians.

Heavily trailing other DPP politicians in every popular poll, Lu called on DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to grant her a closed-door meeting saying that “we have many things we need to talk about.”

“If she or other DPP [politicians] can convince me … about how they are going to run the country, I would even be willing to be [their] campaign manager,” Lu said at a press conference. “Nobody should say that I am against DPP unity.”

“These aren’t empty words. Somebody just has to make me believe that they want Taiwan to be better and not worse,” she added.

The announcement, which comes just three days after she launched her well-publicized -presidential bid, likely signals a willingness to back down and find middle ground with other DPP contenders in the face of opposition to her bid from party politicians.

Tsai and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), seen as frontrunners for the DPP ticket, held closed-door negotiations on Sunday, which did not include Lu and is understood to have involved discussion on who would be better suited to represent the DPP.

That discussion was a precursor to a larger meeting between party politicians this Sunday, which will include Lu along with other party heavyweights including Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), another possible contender.

However, Lu, incensed over her lack of inclusion in the earlier meeting, wants to make sure that her own closed-door meeting with Tsai is staged before the larger discussion on Sunday — a request that DPP officials have agreed to.

The meeting should be “modeled exactly” on the Tsai-Su talks, Lu said. Questioned about the purpose of the meeting, she said there were “secrets” she wanted to speak to Tsai about, apparently referring to her flexibility on her presidential bid.

She added she would also like to meet with Su before the larger discussion takes place.

DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) responded by saying: “As long as it’s to help the DPP become more unified, any meeting [with Lu] is a good thing. We are already looking for a time.”

Party analysts, however, say that it is still too early to dismiss Lu’s campaign, which despite her remarks, has shown no signs of slowing down. Sources reveal that Lu is forging ahead with organizing her staff and campaign office.

Lu yesterday released her second policy outline dealing with women’s rights and said she has received an endorsement from a prominent international women’s organization.

The presidential primaries have been a delicate issue for DPP politicians and especially Tsai over the past month. The party is eager to avoid a repeat of the 2008 campaign, which saw mud-slinging and personal attacks by party contenders.

Sunday will mark the first round of major discussions over choosing a DPP candidate. The party hopes it will not have to resort to telephone polls in the primaries that could delay the process by more than a month.

A poll conducted by TVBS news showed Su most likely represents the DPP’s best chance against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) next year, closely followed by Tsai and then Lu.

Conducted between Feb. 28 and March 1, the survey showed that if the elections were held now, Ma would take 41 percent of the vote against 39 percent for Su. Tsai, on the other hand, would garner 37 percent against Ma while Lu would take 17 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4 percent, 19 times out of 20.

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