The first of three televised debates for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election will be held tomorrow in Greater Kaohsiung, with China policy and party reform expected to be the focus.
The five candidates will each give opening and closing remarks, with a question-and-answer session when they will be able to ask each other questions. The debate will be televised by Formosa TV from 2pm to 4:30pm.
China policy has been at the center of the DPP’s internal discussions, as well as public commentary with it, since the party’s loss in the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, with almost all the candidates agreeing that the party should seek engagement with Beijing.
However, most insist that the exchanges should be conducted as long as Beijing does not set any preconditions.
Party reform is also a crucial issue, with the DPP having long been plagued by factionalism and weak organization at the grassroots level.
Other possible topics of significances include the candidates’ views on a presidential pardon for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and what their thoughts are about a candidacy in the 2016 presidential election.
Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), seen as the front-runner by most analysts, is likely to be the main target of the other four — former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) and former DPP lawmaker Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).
With the others have voiced their support for a Chen amnesty and their intention to focus on party affairs and stay out of the 2016 race, Su Tseng-chang’s position on these issues, along with how he would end the factionalism, will likely be the focal point of the debate.
Many analysts think Su Tseng-chang’s main interest in the chairman position stems from his plan to run in the 2016 presidential election. He has been playing it safe, giving out conservative answers since entering the campaign.
The other two debates will be held in Greater Taichung on May 6 and in Taipei on May 12.
DPP members will vote on May 27 to select a chairperson for a two-year term.