Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday did not rule out running in the party’s election of a new chair in May, setting up a potential competition between three of the DPP’s heavyweights — Hsieh, incumbent DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Hsieh criticized Su in a private conversation and said that if Su entered the election and the DPP’s presidential primary, he would “make Su miserable,” former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) wrote in a column published by the online news Web site my-formosa.com yesterday.
Hsieh was also quoted as saying that he has had a pair of discussions with Tsai about forming a coalition against Su.
Asked for comments about the column before attending the DPP’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei yesterday, Hsieh acknowledged that the conversation with Kuo took place, but said that Kuo “had failed to present the full context of the conversation” in the article.
Nonetheless, Hsieh expressed dissatisfaction with Su and said that what the chairman had achieved in the past two years did not meet most party members’ expectations.
Hsieh did not deny that he is mulling a bid in the election and said he would make a decision before the registration deadline, which is expected to be some time in March, but has yet to be announced by the party.
He called for all the aspirants for the position to present their ideas and plans to make the party better, rather than running simply for the sake of winning and for personal political gain.
Kuo’s column and the release yesterday of an opinion poll, conducted by a foundation which has close ties to Hsieh, came while Su is visiting Europe with a DPP delegation.
Su, who lost to Tsai in the presidential primary in 2011, has been tight-lipped about the election, but his intention to seek another two-year term and a run at the presidency in 2016 has never been questioned by close observers of domestic politics.
If Su were to run for re-election, his toughest rival is expected to be former DPP chairperson Tsai, who served from 2008 until 2012, and earned credit for revitalizing the party.
Tsai has been cautious when answering questions about the DPP election for a new chair and the presidential election in 2016, and said that she has not given the party election a lot of thought, let alone the presidential election, which is still two years away.
However, Tsai aides, who prefered to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak on the matter, said the former presidential candidate has been wrestling with a bid for the chair and weighing the pros and cons, while the opinions are split among her advisers.
Tsai’s New Year resolution, in which she pledged to work with the public and to “help the DPP, as well as the country, make the right choices in the coming year,” has been interpreted as the strongest signal of her intention to run.
Most analysts and DPP lawmakers have said that the possibility of a three-way race is low and that the most likely scenario would be Su competing in the election with either Hsieh or Tsai.