Mon, Jun 27, 2011 - Page 3 News List

DPP ready to finalize list of legislator-at-large hopefuls

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning a diverse roster of legislator-at-large nominations, including representatives from the business, legal and environmental sectors, officials close to the negotiations said.

The roster, which will contain up to 34 names, is expected to be unveiled on Wednesday, but so far the task force compiling the list has maintained the utmost secrecy, fearing that it could provoke DPP factions and lead to protests by those left out.

Party officials said that even senior aides and secretaries were asked to leave closed-door negotiations on the roster that have been chaired by DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over the past month. Party directors are also unwilling to attend the meetings over fears they could be accused of leaking information.

While no names have been confirmed, notwithstanding a partial leak last week that was hotly disputed by party officials, there is indication that the DPP could go with a half-half approach of seasoned politicians and experts and academics in various fields.

A source familiar with the -negotiations said Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), a lawyer and women’s rights advocate, human rights advocate Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋), an advocate for the disabled and tax reform, were all in “advanced stages” of the discussions.

There is also talk of possibly nominating a senior member of the business community, preferably a woman, to garner more undecided voters — although that nomination and others will only be settled in the final meeting tomorrow.

The DPP is leaning toward nominating a number of sitting lawmakers, including environmental advocate Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), women’s rights campaigner Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) and Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如), a speaker for the disabled, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the negotiations.

DPP Legislator Yu Tien (余天) has also not been struck off the roster proposal list, Tsai confirmed yesterday, answering concerns by supporters of the popular folk singer that he would not be asked to run next year.

Party spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), DPP international affairs director Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and DPP caucus chief Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) are also considered to be shoo-in candidates, although it remains to be seen how the roster will be ranked.

It is understood that the nomination task force will discuss tomorrow the three former premiers that were last week appointed to senior roles on Tsai’s presidential campaign team, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), and whether they should be appointed on the fringes of the list to drive up the party vote.

Several of their supporters within the party have called on the three former premiers, and especially Su, to be prioritized to a “safer part” of the roster amid continued talk that Tsai’s former campaign rival could possibly take a DPP leadership role in the legislature.

Current survey projections suggest that the DPP could possibly win 17 legislative seats — split between male and female — next year, half the total number of 34 legislators-at-large. In 2008, the DPP won 14 with 40.7 percent of the party vote, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took the remaining 20 with 55.9 percent.

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