Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Tsai denies primary arrangement

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, front left, is given a fishing net with two Chinese characters meaning “hope” during a visit to Pingtung County -yesterday.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

Presidential candidate hopeful Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) campaign team is denying speculation that it has been seeking an arrangement for the primaries that would see the runner-up head the legislature or party caucus.

“Her campaign office has never discussed this issue,” Tsai spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said. “It’s most likely an opinion from party politicians or viewpoints expressed by grassroots members.”

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been recently trying to find a way to avoid a damaging showdown between Tsai and its other presidential frontrunner, former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

While Su has not yet announced his bid, the two are both seen as heavily favored to take the DPP nominations, garnering significant support within the party.

DPP politicians, concerned that the likelihood of a joint ticket between the two remains small, have floated proposals that would allow the runner-up to take another important role, such as legislative speaker or caucus chief.

Local media reports, citing sources close to the Tsai campaign, have written that her office has unofficially adopted a guideline that: “Winners take the presidency and losers run for legislative speaker” — a proposal it has denied.

Responding to those rumors, Su on Saturday acknowledged the speculation, but said that running for president was a “serious business and not about arranging posts.”

Sources within his campaign yesterday said that the former premier is close to an announcement, but a spokesperson denied that it will take place either today or tomorrow.

Both Su and Tsai, who declared her candidacy on Friday, ramped up their campaign events over the weekend, heading south to meet with farmers and rural residents.

The competition between the two contenders has led to -increasing friction between their campaign teams. Tsai’s office on Saturday said that supporters were asked earlier to skip her high-profile address on Friday.

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who earlier this month announced her bid, has largely stayed out of the spotlight in the past few days, but has also been busy ramping up her campaign in the south.

A final decision on the DPP ticket is expected on May 4 at the latest, although it could take place much sooner pending negotiations on April 6. If the negotiations fall through, the DPP will hold telephone polls between April 25 and April 29.

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