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Registration of former DPP head adds complexity to chairman race

2012/04/13 20:52:41

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Hsu Hsin-liang, a former chairman of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), registered Friday to run in the party's leadership race, further complicatingthe already unpredictable election.

Hsu, one of five candidates running in the election, said the first thing on his campaign platform is "to support (former party chairwoman) Tsai Ing-wen in running forthe presidency again in 2016."

The veteran politician also said he plans to include Tsai'selection campaign platform in the DPP's official literature.Tsai won 45.63 percent of the vote in the January election and isstill widely seen as a presidential hopeful.

Tsai, Taiwan's first female presidential candidate, is "a gift sent by God to the DPP" and the party cannot resume power in 2016 without her, said Hsu.

The 70-year-old said he will "clear all hurdles and pave the way for the DPP's return to power in 2016," adding that the mission will need a leader that is selfless, bold and responsible.

The winner of the party chair election will have an edge in beingnominated as the party's next presidential candidate, which is thereason the 2016 presidential race is playing a key factor.

Hsu's support for Tsai drew particular attention as many of Tsai's supporters are concerned that former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who is considered the most likely winner, will vie for nomination as a presidential candidate himself in 2016, according to party sources.

Many people in the party still want to see Tsai run again, which could hinder Su's attempt to become DPP chairman, said former Legislator Lin Cho-shui.

Hsu seems to have noticed those voices and has chosen to appeal to them.

Su is a stronger contender because he has garnered more support among the party's rank-and-file members and has built up a good reputation, according to some party sources.

The other three candidates are former Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-chih, former Vice Premier Wu Rong-i and former Legislator Chai Trong-rong.

Chai, who was the last to register, declined to comment on Hsu's platform, demanding instead that jailed ex-President Chen Shui-bian be pardoned and saying that Taiwan-U.S. diplomacy will be his platform's priority.

However, others believe that an integration of other candidates in the end, along with other issues, from China policies to the former president's imprisonment, could also influence the final result, since the race is still over a month away.

Hsu, who is known for supporting more open China policies, also proposed that the party establish a committee to deal with cross-Taiwan Strait affairs and recommended former Premier Frank Hsieh to be appointed as its head.

His openness to exchanges with China is quite different from the attitude of the party's more pro-independence faction.

Su's reaction to the two different schools of thought within theparty is also expected to influence the election.

(By Sofia Yeh and Kendra Lin)
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