The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is gearing up for the seven-in-one elections next year and will present its Central Executive Committee with ground rules on candidate nomination procedure by Wednesday, while empowering Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with the authority to directly nominate party members.
The electoral affairs group, formed by Central Committee members, concluded its meeting last week with a rough draft on nomination procedure.
According to Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), the group decided that in principle, the party chairperson would directly nominate any party member running for a consecutive term, and in areas where two or more members express an intent to run, the chairman would try to broker an arrangement between the would-be nominees.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the issue would be settled by a popular vote in a primary election, Hung said.
In areas where there are no potential candidates, the chairman is tasked with chairing a panel to search for prospective candidates, Hung said.
This is a departure from past procedure, Hung said, when the party negotiated with local members in constituencies to try to decide on who would withdraw from a race, or sought the opinion of local members on who should run.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that in the future the chairperson and the Central Committee would be tasked with nominations.
Currently, Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠), Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), and Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) are likely to be nominated again, the DPP said.
With Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) commissioners and mayors either embroiled in litigation or losing local support, pre-election campaign efforts are starting to heat up in cities and counties such as Greater Taichung, Changhua County and Nantou County, where neither party has a clear advantage, the DPP said.
DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has shown initiative and is preparing thoroughly for the elections, the party said, but added that the waters may be muddied due to the reservations of former party secretary-general Su Chia-chuan (蘇嘉全).
Su Chia-chuan said that he would make an official decision once the nomination rules are known, the party said.
Changhua County, on the other hand, is much more keenly contested, with five potential candidates, the party said, adding that DPP Legislator Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) and Changhua Mayor Chiu Chien-fu (邱建富) have agreed to a poll on their support among local voters.
The agreement could cause the pair to break rank and become prime candidates, the party said.
Meanwhile, in DPP-controlled Yunlin County and Pingtung County, the party is also seeing clashing interests.
Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) has declared her support for Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) in the contest, with Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) for the office of commissioner.
She added that she hoped the party chairman would step in and negotiate candidacy priority, saying she was against primary elections.
Pingtung County is evenly split between DPP legislators Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), the party said.
The DPP said that its Central Committee needed to make further plans for Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市), adding that only Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) — a comparative newcomer to the political scene — and former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) have expressed any interest in running, in Taipei and New Taipei City respectively.