The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday confirmed former premier Yu Shyi-kun as its candidate for the New Taipei City (新北市) mayoral election in December, ending widespread speculation that it would replace Yu with someone else due to his poor showing in public opinion polls.
The party also selected legislators Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) to contest the races in Greater Taichung and Changhua County respectively, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference after the party’s Central Executive Committee approved the nominations.
Su added that the party’s goal in the upcoming mayoral and commissarial elections is to “consolidate our advantages in the south of the country, turn things around in central Taiwan and try to gain ground in the north.”
Although Yu won the party’s New Taipei City primary last month, there had been rumors that he would be replaced after opinion surveys showed him trailing possible Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rivals — including New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), his deputy mayor, Hou You-yi (侯友宜), and Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) — by large margins.
Those rumors were further fueled by talk that some DPP members are unhappy having the 65-year-old politician as their candidate because he is too old, with some suggesting that either Su or former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should be chosen to run in the country’s most populous constituency, which the party considers too important to lose.
At the press conference yesterday, Yu said that if elected, his priority would be bringing hope back to the municipality’s youth through a series of social measures, such as public housing, that would allow the younger generations to have better livelihoods and give them the courage to dream about their future.
“I would love to have that chance to fight for young people,” Yu said.
Lin and Wei both acknowledged the high stakes of their campaigns, as the three constituencies in central Taiwan — Greater Taichung, Changhua and Nantou County — are widely seen as key battlegrounds for the DPP and the KMT.
Citing his 10 years of experience representing Greater Taichung, Lin said he is determined to end the KMT’s 13-year-long governance of the constituency, where he said local development has stalled.
Wei also touted his vast experience, citing the two terms he served on the Changhua County Council for two terms and the three he spent representing the region as a lawmaker.
Wei said his knowledge of his home county is his biggest strength as a candidate in the contest for Changhua County commissioner and vowed to win back the traditional KMT stronghold.
The DPP has announced nominees for 10 of the 22 administrative zones and Su has said that the party is eyeing victory in at least 11 of those regions.