Chai pulls out of DPP leadership race

THE AGE CARD:An aide said Chai Trong-rong felt he had no choice but to quit the race because elder Koo Kwang-ming refused to give up his bid for the party’s chairmanship

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, May 13, 2008 - Page 3

Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) dropped out of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairmanship race yesterday, saying his decision had met the expectations of independence supporters.

A close aide to Chai, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Taipei Times that Chai thought it would be for the best if he and former senior presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) could reach a deal on a single candidate because they are both die-hard independence activists.

However, with Koo showing no sign of backing down, Chai had no choice but to withdraw, the aide said.

Besides, as Koo is many years Chai’s senior, it was only proper for Chai to pull out and it was the expectation of pro-independence heavyweights to see only one of them vie for the position, the aide said.

But the aide denied the two men had struck a deal and said that Chai would stump for Koo and would not serve as Koo’s deputy if Koo was elected.

Koo’s campaign told reporters that the two men met yesterday to discuss the issue and then decided to “respond positively to members’ concern over the party’s future development.”

Koo and Chai are scheduled to make a joint announcement early today.

Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠), director of the DPP’s Culture and Information Department, said that the election will be held on Sunday as scheduled and Chai will not get his NT$1.5 million (US$49,000) deposit back.

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the other candidate for the DPP’s top job, called for party factions to cooperate yesterday.

She said all sides should work together to help the party select candidates for next year’s mayoral and county comissioners elections.

Tsai said the party can no longer feel sorry for itself following its recent losses. She pledged to reform the party’s structure if elected, and take advantage of the party’s experience over the past eight years to make it more “combative.”

To solicit more support for the party, she said she would like to see the DPP allocate more resources to local governments controlled by the party.

Tsai made the remarks when she visited the DPP chapter in Keelung City yesterday morning.

While chapter members harshly criticized the party, especially factional infighting and corruption, Tsai said factions were indeed a problem but she thought they could cooperate. One way to curb factional infighting was to examine the party’s nomination system, she said.

Tsai also promised to closely monitor the performance of the incoming Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, especially its cross-strait policy.

The DPP must protect Taiwan and its sovereignty, Tsai said, insist on its ideals and take good care of the disadvantaged in the globalization age.