In response to recent comments about her age, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who aspires to win the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nomination for the Taipei mayoral election next year, yesterday said that it is the “brain” rather than “age” that matters.
“The way I see it, the media and some politicians should stop dwelling on the subject and move on to the more substantial issues. The fact that [former premier] Yu Shyi-kun (游錫) won the New Taipei City (新北市) primary and [former Keelung mayor] Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) won in Yunlin County says it all: Voters do not care about age,” Lu said.
There have been heated discussions about the trio’s age, in particular about Lu, 69, and Yu, 65, as Lu is interested in running in Taipei and Yu in New Taipei City — two of the largest constituencies in the local elections in December next year. Lee is 62.
Most critics say that Lu and Yu’s insistence about staying in the elections could be an obstacle to the DPP’s generational shift and that “old faces” would make it difficult to generate younger voter support.
Lu insisted that she was able and that she entered the race with a larger strategic objective, rather than satisfying personal ambitions.
She cited the example of the 1997 local elections, in which the DPP secured New Taipei City, Taoyuan County and Yilan County, saying that this success paved the way for the party’s victory in the presidential election three years later.
While most DPP members are not complacent because of close losses in Taipei and New Taipei City, Lu, who has never lost an election in her career, said she was determined to win and knew how to win.
Her success was not even a secret, Lu said, adding that she has always worked hard and tried to touch people’s hearts before appealing for their support.
Four DPP aspirants, including Lu; lawyer Wellington Ku (顧立雄), incumbent lawmaker Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Taipei City Council deputy speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), have shown interest in the DPP primary for the Taipei mayoral election. However, independent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), director of National Taiwan University’s Department of Traumatology, whose support rate has topped all pan-green camp aspirants, has been a strong wildcard challenger.
Lu would have to win the DPP primary and defeat Ko before winning the nomination if the DPP was eventually to agree to negotiate with Ko for a better chance to win.
Citing a recent public opinion poll as her endorsement, the former vice president said that despite Ko finishing ahead in overall support, more independent voters favored her over Ko, showing that she had what it takes to garner swing voters’ support, which would be crucial to winning Taipei.
Meanwhile, Yu also played down the importance of age and laughed off the description of him and Lu as “Five Royal Lords,” a mischievous term that takes a jab at their age.
“According to folk tradition, the Five Royal Lords were known for their capability to protect the people and country. In fact, [being described as a Royal Lord] was an honor,” Yu said after he won the party primary on Tuesday.
Like Lu, the former premier, who served as Yilan County commissioner for eight years, also stressed experience over age in politics and highlighted his resolution to win the constituency.