Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has reportedly said that he would not seek the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination in Greater Taichung for the year-end special municipality elections.
The Chinese-language China Times yesterday quoted Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), a member of the nine-person nomination team charged with selecting DPP candidates for Taipei, Sinbei (新北市) and Taichung cities, as saying that Hsieh had decided not to participate in the December elections.
The reports came after calls by Taichung City and Taichung County councilors over the weekend for the party to nominate a “senior figure” for the election in Greater Taichung, saying that a strong contender could boost their chances of re-election in the same month.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Hsieh were listed as examples.
Sources within the party said that if Hsieh bowed out, former Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) could emerge as the party’s frontrunner in the Greater Taichung nomination.
Lin, who has asked the party to accelerate the nomination process, said in a recent interview that Hsieh had already pledged his support for Lin’s campaign.
However, party officials said the nomination team would consider potential candidates — even individuals who have not expressed an interest in running in Taipei, Sinbei and Taichung cities.
Hsieh had previously said that if asked, he would consider calls to run in Taichung, despite a statement in 2008 that he would leave politics following his loss in the 2008 presidential election.
DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said yesterday that the nomination team would engage in internal discussions this week after speaking with potential nominees in Taipei, Sinbei and Taichung cities last week.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said he would spend most of his time and effort in the south, a traditional DPP stronghold.
King said that while he was aware that the pan-green camp had greater support in the south, based on the 2008 presidential election, the KMT could “turn the tide.”
As long as the party nominates “formidable” candidates, King said he was confident it could turn things around. Once the campaign officially begins, King said he would spend two thirds of his time in the south.
King, who visited Taichung to talk with aspirants interested in that race, said he would visit Kaohsiung tomorrow to hold talks with potential candidates. Only individuals who have publicly expressed their intention to run will be placed in the selection pool, he said.
Poll results should be made available on April 14 and negotiations among contenders will follow if necessary, he said.
King said he hoped the candidates would be nominated by May 19, which would be earlier than the DPP.
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