Civic groups are still hoping a last-minute deal will cut the number of independence-minded candidates from three to one before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election on Sunday.
The call came after former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) predicted yesterday that former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) would win the election.
“With only four days left, we hope to work something out,” Taiwan Society president Wu Shu-min (吳樹民) told a press conference organized by Taiwan Nation Alliance (TNA), a coalition of pro--independence groups.
Wu was referring to the alliance’s effort to persuade two of the three candidates — former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), former DPP legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) and former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) — to drop out of the race so as not to divide the votes of independence supporters.
Hardline independence supporters’ dislike for Su Tseng-chang, who is considered by many analysts to be the favorite, is an open secret given what they have said about Su’s lack of support for the Taiwan independence movement.
However, the alliance is aware that its effort to unite independence supporters behind a single candidate could fail because none of the three have yet shown any inclination to withdraw from the election, TNA convener Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) said.
The alliance does not support or endorse any specific candidate, he said, but expects the new DPP leader to be a politician of selflessness with the courage to tackle the “Chen Shui-bian issue.”
That means the new chairperson must be willing to fight for the medical and judicial rights of Chen Shui-bian, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, and explain to the public what the DPP achieved during its eight years in power so as to deal with the stigma of corruption the party currently has to deal with, Yao said.
At the same time, Chen wrote in a column published in the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday that the most important task for Su Tseng-chang was not whether he would win the election, but how he would win the hearts and mind of independence supporters and those who support former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for another run in the 2016 presidential election.
Even the coordinated attacks of the other four candidates on Su and the results of the three televised debates would not change the outcome of the election — a Su victory, Chen predicted.
Su should not be criticized for desire to secure the party’s presidential nomination or his attempt to secure the chairmanship as a way of gaining an advantage in the nomination process, Chen added, because Tsai enjoyed the same advantage during her tenure as chairperson.
“It makes no sense to ask Su not to run for the presidency if he is elected chairperson simply because some people would rather give Tsai a second chance in 2016,” Chen said.
As a party that upholds democracy and progressiveness, the DPP should not set limitations on the political ambitions of party -members, Chen said.
“And Su knows very well that, even if he wins the election to become chairperson, he must win the 2014 local elections to secure his nomination as the party’s presidential candidate,” Chen added.