With tomorrow’s election for the chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) entering its final stage, all five candidates yesterday intensified their campaigns although former premier and frontrunner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) continued to lead the race.
Su has been running a traditional, low-key campaign, visiting local opinion leaders and making telephone calls to seek support. According to his office, the former premier is to run advertisements in newspapers today and tomorrow.
Su, at the forefront of the race to control the country’s largest opposition party from the outset, announced that he would call a press conference at his office tomorrow afternoon following the election.
However, former Tainan County commissioner and leadership hopeful Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) made a last-minute plea at a press conference yesterday and urged pro-independence supporters to back him.
Su Huan-chih said he still believes he has a chance to defeat Su Tseng-chang as long as the election is a one-on-one battle, he said yesterday.
Su Huan-chih, who made “generational change” the theme of his campaign, said he ranked second and trailed Su Tseng-chang by only a smaller-than-expected margin, according to an opinion poll taken two weeks ago.
He said that the total support he enjoyed in conjunction with former DPP legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) and former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) was higher than that commanded by Su Tseng-chang.
Su Huan-chih said he was hoping former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would lend her support, but Tsai appeared to be leaning toward neutrality in the leadership election.
Former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), another contender for the party’s leadership post, continued with his hunger strike, which he began in front of the Legislative Yuan at 3pm on Monday.
More than 100 hours into the protest, at which he made three demands of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Hsu showed no signs of giving up his hunger strike and denied that the protest was a campaign tactic.
Chai and Wu both appealed to party members through a series of TV ads, with Wu traveling to the south recently to visit party members.
Meanwhile, Chai, Wu and Su Huan-chih yesterday afternoon demanded that the DPP call a Central Executive Committee meeting today to investigate alleged election fraud in New Taipei City (新北市).
The DPP national headquarters turned down the request for the meeting, but promised to launch an investigation.
Demands for the investigation focus around Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) — currently running for director of the DPP’s regional office in New Taipei City — who on Thursday accused his rival, Chang Hung-lu (張宏陸), of handing out lists of party members to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials in the city and asking KMT borough chiefs to campaign for Su Tseng-chang and Chang.
Acting DPP chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊) urged party members to vote tomorrow, with spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) adding that the leadership handover ceremony is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
The 160,000-plus registered members of the DPP are set to vote in four elections tomorrow. In addition to a new chairperson, party members will select regional office directors, as well as regional and national representatives.