Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday set an ambitious goal for the mayoral and commissioner elections next year — to win at least half of the 22 administrative zones across the country — as the party announced its first batch of candidates for the elections.
“The DPP hopes that it can win in at least three of the six special municipalities and eight of the 16 cities and counties,” Su told a press conference after he introduced the DPP’s first group of seven candidates for the mayoral and commissioner elections.
Three of the seven nominees, officially approved at a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting yesterday, were candidates who won party primaries in the past month, including Nantou County’s Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), Pan Men-an (潘孟安) of Pingtung County and Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) of Yunlin County.
The other four are all incumbent mayors and commissioners, including Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) and Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢).
While the mayoral and commissioner elections will only be part of the seven-in-one elections, which will also elect special municipality councilors, county and city councilors, township mayors, township councilors and borough and village wardens, Su said the DPP hoped to gain ground in the other elections as well.
The DPP has only won more than half of the mayoral and commissioner elections once in its 27-year history, securing 12 of the 23 administrative zones nationwide in 1997, when special municipality mayoral elections had yet to be introduced.
With regards to special municipality elections, if the DPP secures the two seats it currently holds, Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan, it would have to win either in Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung or Taoyuan to reach the 50 percent mark.
Party primaries will be held in the coming months to determine the DPP candidates in the other constituencies.
In related news, DPP New Taipei City Chapter director Lo Chih-cheng’s (羅致政) withdrawal from the New Taipei City primary and his complaints about the primary process dominated the CEC meeting.
With two weeks left before a public opinion poll on Dec. 2 to determine the primary winner, Lo abruptly pulled out of the race and said that the party headquarters’ “strategic considerations and scheduling decisions” had left him with not enough time to prepare for his campaign.
There have been reports that Su favored former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), Lo’s main rival in the primary, so a task force, designated by the DPP headquarters, pushed the date of the poll ahead because Yu was leading.
Lai, the convener of the task force, which is in charge of conducting negotiations between three aspirant candidates in New Taipei City, told reporters that all of them had agreed on the date and signed the agreement statement.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), who was on the task force, lambasted Lo for retracting his agreement, saying that Lo would have been unable to cut Yu’s lead — 45 percent against Lo’s 9 percent — even if he had been given more time.