DPP to name presidential candidate in April

By Yang Chun-hui and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Jan 29, 2019 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to nominate a candidate for next year’s presidential election by the middle of April, party chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said in a radio interview yesterday.

After the registration for the DPP’s nomination closes, the party would host either an event for candidates to present their platforms or a debate before conducting a poll, he said.

In the lead-up to the past two presidential elections, the DPP announced its presidential nominee in April of the preceding year.

Sources said that members of the DPP believe the popularity of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who might be seeking re-election, has surged after she issued a firm response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech on Jan. 2 calling for unification under a “one country, two systems” model.

However, media reports said that other DPP members, such as former premier William Lai (賴清德) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), are also potential candidates.

Asked whether Tsai might still name Lai as her running mate — a subject of wild speculation by the media — if the former premier were to propose formal independence, Cho said that Lai is a DPP member and must adhere to the party’s platform and its Resolution on Taiwan’s Future (台灣前途決議文), which clearly states that Taiwan is an independent nation and that any decision to change the “status quo” should be made by Taiwanese voters.

Lai would not “overstep this boundary,” Cho said.

Speaking about future relations between the DPP and independent forces — political parties and politicians outside of the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — Cho said that as the ruling party, the DPP’s goal in next year’s election is to maintain control over the national government.

That means there is “no room for bargaining” and the DPP would definitely be nominating its own presidential candidate, he said.

The DPP could still discuss cooperation with third-party forces in the legislative elections, which will be held simultaneously, but it would nominate a DPP candidate for president, he said.

Asked whether Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) might be named as the DPP nominee’s running mate, Cho said that he believed Ko “has not been preparing” for such a scenario.

Asked whether DPP candidate Ho Chih-wei’s (何志偉) victory in the Taipei legislative by-election on Sunday has boosted his position as party chairman, Cho said that the result was not about individual success.

The outcome allowed the DPP to temporarily strengthen its foothold and gain a better understanding of what to do next, he said.