Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) yesterday officially announced his intention to run in the May 27 DPP chairperson election and said his expertise on international affairs and organizational skills would be the biggest assets he could bring to the party.
“Despite my age, I am confident that I am capable of leading this party and Taiwan to a better future,” said Chai, who at 76 is the oldest among the five candidates in the election.
Other than Chai, who is set to register for the election today, former premiers Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) and former Tainan county commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) have already registered, while former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) could enter the election today.
The DPP should walk a new path if it wishes to win the 2016 presidential election and the first priority should be restoring the party’s relations with the US, Chai said, adding that US support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) played a critical role in the DPP’s defeat in the presidential election in January.
The senior politician said he had decades of experience in lobbying work with the US Congress and he has been in close contact with US politicians, which would be a plus for the DPP if he is elected.
As one of the founders and promoters of the World United Formosans for Independence, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs and Taiwan’s referendum movement, Chai said he believes he also has the organizational skills to run the DPP.
A staunch independence advocate, he was the first candidate to publicly advocate a presidential pardon for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, and he made the appeal one of his campaign platforms.
In his eight-point platform, Chai also pledged to increase the DPP’s membership base, amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法), insist on Taiwan’s sovereignty and win the seven-in-one elections in 2014.
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) praised Chai’s experience and dedication at the press conference, saying that Chai would be a good leader of the party.