Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayors yesterday expressed their surprise about former premier William Lai’s (賴清德) announcement yesterday that he would seek the party’s nomination for next year’s presidential election.
Until Lai’s announcement, the only known contender for the DPP’s candidacy was President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who has said that she would seek re-election.
Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) and Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) yesterday all said that they had not expected Lai to launch a bid.
Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times
Cheng said he was surprised and worried at the same time, as the presidential election would pose a difficult challenge for the DPP and it could only win by standing united.
A two-way primary could sow division among party members, Cheng said, adding that he hoped Lai would follow the party’s nomination mechanism and be open to a discussion.
Lin also stressed the importance of party unity.
DPP Secretary-General Luo Wei-jia (羅文嘉) said that all DPP members are allowed to run in elections.
However, all members should remember that they cannot afford to be divided, for the best interests of the nation and the party, Luo said.
Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) said on Facebook that she hoped everyone could sit down for a conversation and find the best course for Taiwan together.
DPP Legislators Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) and Mark Ho (何志偉) said that Lai’s announcement would not divide the party.
The DPP has a well-developed mechanism for presidential nominations that has been in place for years, Liu and Ho said.
The party would use its wisdom to find the best way to move forward, they said, adding that a nomination according to the existing mechanism would not create division within the party.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that he was “not surprised at all” that Lai had announced a run.
“After he resigned from his post as premier, I thought he was sure to make some move,” Wu said. “What I did not expect was that he would move so fast.”
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