Former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) yesterday announced that he would take part in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) election for chairperson on May 27, adding that he was confident he could spearhead reforms that would lay the basis for the DPP’s return to power.
Wu, 72, proposed a “second party-founding movement” to revive a spirit of “selflessness” the party enjoyed in its early days and to restore the party’s long-lost values.
“If elected, I would work hard to help the DPP regain people’s trust as a powerful opposition and put the party in a position to regain power,” he told a press conference.
Wu, who currently serves as president of the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank, is the second candidate to announce a bid for the leadership of the party following former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智).
Other potential candidates include former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is expected to throw his hat into the ring next week, former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) and former DPP legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).
With Su Tseng-chang seen as the strongest candidate, Taiwan independence supporters have been trying to persuade two of three “pro-independence candidates” — which includes Wu, Chai and Su Huan-chih — to withdraw their bids, so pro-independence forces can throw their support behind a single candidate.
However, DPP Legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山), a senior independence movement leader, said negotiations appeared to have failed because Chai and Su Huan-chih have shown no intention of dropping their bids.
Wu yesterday said he was an expert on a wide range of issues that are seen as the DPP’s Achilles heel, such as cross-strait relations, Taiwan-US relations and the economy.
With an economics doctorate from the University of Leuven in Belgium, Wu served as a consultant for the Taiwanese APEC delegation between 1993 and 2004 and has been the president of the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
“More importantly, I would be able to maintain neutrality in dealing with party affairs since I’m not affiliated with any faction,” Wu said, adding that factionalism has been one of the DPP’s most pressing concerns.
Several DPP politicians attended the press conference yesterday in support of Wu’s bid, including former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), senior independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) and a number of DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmakers.