The much-anticipated election for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson is set to intensify after former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) indicated on Monday night that he may run for the position.
Asked by the media about his plan to enter the race, Su said he was “pretty close” to registering for the election, which is scheduled to be held on May 27, alongside elections to select an Aboriginal representative and 286 party representatives across the country.
According to the DPP’s election announcements released on Monday, candidates for party chairperson and representatives can register for the elections during the period that began on Monday until Friday next week.
Su, who served as DPP chairperson for 10 months in 2005, is seen by analysts and DPP members as the strongest candidate.
Although Su has been tightlipped about his interest in the race, he has been visiting DPP members intensively since last month.
However, Su is expected to face stiffer competition than former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who served a pair of two-year terms beginning in 2008, as Tsai faced only one competitor in the 2008 race and ran unopposed in her re-election bid in 2010.
The “anti-Su” sentiment is strong within the party, making the election a “battle between Su and the anti-Su camp,” said several DPP members and officials, who wished to remain anonymous.
Former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) was the first person to publicly announce his candidacy and he has held several press conferences to elaborate on how he would reform and transform the party.
Former DPP lawmaker Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) has also expressed interest in running. If he does enter the race, he would likely try to gain support from staunch Taiwan independence supporters.
However, other “deep-green” supporters have been seeking another candidate.
Former vice premier and incumbent president of the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) is expected to announce his bid on Sunday, according to sources.
A potential fifth candidate surfaced on Monday, when former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), who advocates a moderate China policy, did not rule out his possible candidacy in response to reporters’ questions.
The senior politician, who twice served as DPP chairperson between 1992 and 1993, and between 1996 and 1998, was in contention for the DPP’s presidential nomination last year before losing to Tsai.