The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) unity will be at stake if the party’s chairperson election next month becomes a “prelude to the 2016 presidential election,” former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said yesterday.
“The election appears to be heading in the wrong direction with most of the attention focused on the 2016 presidential election,” Su, one of five contestants in the May 27 election, told a press conference.
Most people believe that former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) views the chairmanship as an advantage for him in the DPP’s presidential race, while former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang’s (許信良) public endorsement of former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last week has created a buzz about a possible second attempt by Tsai for the presidency, Su Huan-chih said.
The development could hurt the party’s solidarity as presidential aspirants jostle for position as early as this year, but Su Huan-chih said it was likely inevitable because the chairperson has always played an important role in the presidential nomination process.
“And no one believes the chairperson would maintain neutrality in the nomination process, which is why the chairperson election is important to all the factions,” he said.
That is why he is the best candidate for the chairmanship, because he is not affiliated with any faction and he has pledged not to run in future elections, he said.
Su Huan-chih said he would be able to establish a fair mechanism for the presidential nomination and focus on party reform.
The widespread rumor of a coalition involving Tsai, Hsu and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) going up against the alliance of Su Tseng-chang, the New Tide faction and the Green Friendship Alliance “could not be further from the truth,” he said.
Su Huan-chih predicted that party factions would not be a factor in the chairmanship election, as the New Tide faction has made clear it would not endorse a specific candidate. He added he was confident of his chances and would not withdraw from the election.
“The election will be a do-or-die vote for the party’s future. United we stand, divided we fall, and I’m ready to embrace that challenge,” he said.