The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has chosen its presidential candidate through a democratic -- albeit somewhat chaotic -- selection process.
The victory of former premier Frank Hsieh (
In the final days leading to the primary last Sunday, the two camps were engaged in a bitter war of words as accusations were hurled back and forth. Allegations of corruption against Hsieh relating to the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp scandal gave rise to cries of foul play from the former Kaohsiung mayor's supporters and criticism that the party and the president were biased in favor of a certain candidate.
Worried about the heated campaign, President Chen Shui-bian (
Although the DPP looked as if it were about to split at the seams before the primary, the party has pulled itself together again after Hsieh was declared the winner in the first round of the primary, with the three other contenders falling behind and giving him their full support.
Lo Chi-cheng (
"One of the biggest differences between the DPP and the KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] is that DPP members always unite together after a fierce election while the KMT always split," he said.
It was not a question of whether the party's four bigwigs wanted to cooperate with each other, but rather the awareness that the party could not afford to split, Lo said.
Lo, a Yu supporter, said that Hsieh must address the concern of those who did not vote for him or who did not come out to vote at all.
"He can easily lose the presidential election if he fails to win the backing of the 49 percent of DPP members who support Su and Yu and have doubts about his [Hsieh's] more conciliatory path," he said.
Lo said he expected Hsieh's opponents, either from within the party or from independence supporters, to voice their concern and demand a satisfactory answer.
Former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), speaking before the results of the primary vote came out, said he harbored doubts about Hsieh's China policy.
Although Hsieh is now the DPP's candidate, Wu said he still has questions about Hsieh's alleged role in the Kaohsiung rapid transit scandal when he was Kaohsiung mayor and investigations into his -- ?and other government officials' -- use of their special allowance fund.
Nonetheless, Wu said that he and other independence supporters would still be happy to see Hsieh resume talks with Beijing, barring a compromise or surrender to Chinese authorities.
Given Hsieh's more conciliatory stance, Wu said he expected China would be more willing to hold dialogue with Hsieh if he were elected president.
It may take a while for both sides to reach a consensus on highly sensitive issues such as independence or unification, but they can at least talk about economic cooperation or even map out a peace treaty, he said.
It is important, however, to have a third party, preferably a powerful country, involved to supervise the peace process.
Acknowledging that Hsieh faces many challenges ahead, Wu said that he hoped Hsieh would solicit opinions from different groups in order to strike a balance.