Top DPP official says no to Taipei County election

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Deputy Secretary-general Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday downplayed speculation that he would enter the election race to become commissioner of Taipei County, the county with the highest population in the nation.

Lee, who is expected to take over from DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) as the party's top secretary in its July 18 national congress, said his current priority was to help the party win the year-end legislative elections.

"It is still not the time to discuss this matter. I haven't started any planning. The most important thing at this moment is to help the party win the legislative elections. As for other things in the future, I'll leave them to God, who will have the best arrangements for me," Lee said.

The elections for local city and county governments are set for December next year.

However, Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), a former Taipei County Commissioner, confirmed that Lee has discussed this matter with him and has shown interest in running for the commissioner's seat of Taipei County.

"Lee has discussed this matter with me before and has shown his interest and willingness in the bid. He is quite a talent in the DPP and we are glad someone like him is willing to take on this task," Su said yesterday.

Lee, considered to be one of the DPP's most promising political starts, has sound and extensive administrative experience in politics. He has been the Cabinet's secretary-General and Taiwan's deputy representative to the US.

His political profile peaked when he successfully organized the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally earlier this year when nearly 2 million people formed a 500km-long human chain along the west coast to protest China's missiles pointed at Taiwan. The event was considered to be one of the most important catalysts boosting President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election bid.

Chang said yesterday that Lee was a very talented member of the party. However, Chang said that whether the party would support Lee to run for county commissioner depends on an internal selection mechanism which involves a vote by party members and an opinion poll to decide on a candidate, if more than two party members are interested in the post.

Council for Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) is also said to be interested in becoming Taipei County commissioner.