Chances for a closed-door deal on which candidate would represent the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next year’s presidential election seemed slim yesterday after a negotiation deadline expired.
Although the party was scheduled to hold a negotiation session, none of the candidates — Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) — had shown any desire to back out of the race, meaning that the window of opportunity to avoid an internal battle has now closed.
While informal negotiations will likely continue, the candidates will no longer be able to receive a partial refund of the NT$5 million (US$172,000) registration fee paid to the DPP as part of their bid.
Tsai, who has temporarily stepped down as DPP chairperson, and Su, a former premier, have been closely matched in recent polls, leading many party officials to question whether an eleventh-hour deal could be reached before the telephone polls, which will be used to decide the primary, begin on April 25.
Hsu, another former DPP chairman, has been trailing far behind in the polls, but has given no indication that he plans to drop out of the race.
“Although the scheduled discussions have ended, the primary and the upcoming televised appearances will progress on schedule,” DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林佑昌) said.
The DPP plans to hold four televised appearances, during which the three candidates will be given a chance to present their election platforms. They will also answer questions by representatives of civic organizations and academics.
The sessions will be held on Saturday, April 13, April 16 and April 20, and will be broadcast on cable news stations FTV News, ETTV, Era News and SET TV respectively.
The primary is expected to wrap up on May 4, after the telephone polls conclude on April 29.