Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials yesterday called for unity after public polls confirmed DPP Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米) as the party’s nominee for Pingtung County commissioner in November’s election.
Chou received the most support among county residents at 58.98 percent in a one-on-one contest against potential Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate and former legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉), who polled at 12.66 percent, figures from three polls showed.
Incumbent Pingtung legislators Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) trailed closely behind Chou with 51.64 and 44.87 percent support respectively.
Photo: Lo Hsin-chen, Taipei Times
The polls were conducted over two days by two public survey companies along with the DPP, contacting 3,600 county residents.
Upon winning the party’s nomination, Chou thanked local groups, politicians and residents for their support, and promised to prioritize economic development if she wins.
“We have finished this fierce competition for the party’s nomination, but it is part of the democratic process. Now that the preliminary race is over, I am seeking cooperation and support from our two fellow party members,” she said. “I must consolidate all support within our party to give Pingtung a brighter future, and together we can win the county commissioner’s office.”
News reports called the campaign the most intense party showdown in Pingtung history, with each candidate enjoying strong local support and receiving endorsements from influential DPP members, reportedly leading to dissent among the DPP’s southern base.
Political commentators said the contest had manifested an internal schism, with Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) backing Chou — both are members of the party’s New Tide faction — while former county commissioner Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) supported Chung.
Chuang had branded himself a strong supporter of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), with backing from former Pingtung county commissioner and legislative speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).
During campaigning in January, Chuang sparked party infighting after saying that Chou was collaborating with the KMT, referring to the backing Chou reportedly received from Pingtung County Council Speaker Chou Tien-lun (周典論) and former speaker Cheng Ching-shui (程清水), as well as other local KMT leaders.
Chou Chun-mi, a former district court judge, comes from a family rooted in Pingtung politics, with her father, Chou Hui-huang (周輝煌), serving as a KMT county councilor in the 1970s, political commentators said.
Chung last week demanded a full accounting of Chou Chun-mi’s campaign expenses, suggesting that Pan had provided public resources to support her.
Leading DPP figures called for party unity and to work together to win the election in November.
“All three candidates are outstanding for the DPP, but regrettably only one can emerge as the winner,” Pan said. “We hope they can settle their differences and uphold the principles that led them to join the party.”
“We can only achieve victory for Pingtung when working as a team,” he added. “I can be certain that she [Chou Chun-mi] will become the first female commissioner for our county.”
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