Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) office yesterday remained tight-lipped on whether she plans to run in the party’s chairmanship election in May, amid media reports saying she would announce her bid next week.
“We urge the media to stop speculating. [The office] will make an announcement when the time is right,” office spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said.
The Chinese-language United Evening News (UEN) reported yesterday that Tsai would announce her bid next week or by the end of this month at the latest.
It was the second time in as many months that media outlets had reported that Tsai was about to announce her bid. Tsai’s office issued low-key responses on both occasions.
The former presidential candidate is expected to face DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in the election if she decided to seek the party’s chairmanship again after serving two two-year terms between 2008 and 2012.
According to the UEN report, Tsai first hinted at her intention to run during her New Year’s speech on Jan. 1 and intended to officially announce her bid sometime before the Lunar New Year and the middle of last month, but wound up postponing the announcement.
In related news, the news Web site ETtoday yesterday cited an unpublished DPP survey as saying that former premier Yu Shyi-kun, the DPP’s candidate in the New Taipei City mayoral election, has cut his deficit against incumbent Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to about 8 percentage points.
Yu trailed Chu 41.2 percent to 32.8 percent, but led by about 5 percentage points, 35 percent to 30.7 percent, if he were facing New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) in the election instead, according to the report.
Chu has not officially announced his re-election bid, with political pundits saying he could forgo the mayoral election in November because he has set his sights on the KMT’s nomination for the presidential election in 2016.
Hou could be tapped as the KMT’s candidate if Chu skipped the election, they said.
In previous polls that had been made public, Yu lagged behind Chu by between 12 to 15 percentage points, and trailed Hou as well.
Responding to the report, Yu said he does not take survey results seriously because the “support rates tend to rise and fall.”
While Chu could be a tough opponent, he “is not invincible because his performance is not as good as advertised,” Yu said, adding that he would keep his “head in the game” and not be carried away by the smaller deficit.