Sun, Apr 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lai fans ‘very worried’ that DPP might scrap primary

By Su Fun-her and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former premier William Lai, right, stands in front of a statue of Taiwanese novelist Chung Li-ho during a visit to the Chung Li-ho Memorial Museum in Kaohsiung’s Meinong District yesterday.

Photo: Su Fu-nan, Taipei Times

Supporters of former premier William Lai (賴清德) are “very worried,” but he hopes people can trust the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary process, Lai said yesterday amid speculation that the party might scrap its presidential primary.

Lai made the comments on Facebook as reports emerged that supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election bid are calling for Tsai to be nominated directly, with Lai running for vice president.

Tsai’s supporters are reportedly to propose the arrangement at the DPP’s Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Lai said that his supporters are concerned and have contacted him via private messaging and by telephone, calling on him to “defend democratic values” and to ensure that the primary is completed.

His insistence on completing the primary was not a personal matter, but he could not turn a blind eye to the concerns of grassroots supporters and the “indifference” being shown by the DPP, Lai wrote.

“Only through the primary can we reflect on ourselves and let the public know that the DPP can be trusted ... that we have not given up our responsibility toward Taiwan,” he wrote.

Lai is to meet with Internet fitness celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) on Tuesday for a live-streamed conversation, which Lai said would be an opportunity to speak about his views on the nation’s development and to broaden interaction with young people.

He would also use the event to get input from people on issues, Lai said.

Separately yesterday, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said the worst outcome from the primary would be a party split, but that he was working hard to prevent that.

A meeting between Tsai and Lai that the president’s supporters have been calling for has not yet been confirmed, he said.

Additional reporting by Chiu Shu-yu

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