Thu, Jun 23, 2011 - Page 3 News List

DPP heavyweights wait on Tsai’s task force

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun, one of the so-called “heavenly kings” of the Democratic Progressive Party, tries out exercise equipment at the opening of Kainan University’s Health Advancement Center in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

It is unclear whether former premiers Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) will be nominated as legislators-at-large, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson said yesterday, adding that neither’s name has come up for discussion.

Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) fielded questions about whether the two party heavyweights, who were yesterday handed important roles in DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) election campaign, would be offered nominations.

“Based on the third meeting of a task force for the legislator-at-large nominations, neither the cases of Su, Hsieh nor [former premier] Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) and [former vice president] Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) have been raised,” he said. “None of them ... are currently included in the list of potential nominees.”

The four DPP politicians have been touted as additions to the legislator-at-large roster, legislators elected based on a share of the popular vote, in order to encourage more people to vote for the party. There has been talk of including the four on the fringes of the list, so supporters have more incentive to push up the DPP’s share of the vote.

Su, who narrowly lost the presidential primaries to Tsai, has also reportedly expressed an interest in accepting a leadership role in the legislature, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said, adding that it was the “right direction to take.”

Su remained evasive when asked about the issue yesterday, saying he trusted the nomination task force and suggesting that he would respect the decision made by Tsai, who doubles as convener of the group.

“If the DPP plans to return to government next year, the roster of legislators-at-large next term must shine in front of the public ... and I trust that the end result will be beautiful,” Su said, sidestepping a question on whether he plans to accept a nomination.

“We haven’t had this kind of contact yet,” added Su, who was yesterday confirmed as Tsai’s campaign chairman.

Hsieh, named as chief campaign commander, confirmed that proposals to include party heavyweights on the list had been floated. He said he would respect the final decision of the task force, saying: “I don’t think we’ll argue with the result if it enhances the big picture.”

In 2008, the DPP received 38.2 percent of the popular vote, landing 14 of the 34 legislator-at-large seats available, and they were equally split between male and female candidates, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took 20 seats.

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