Taipei, April 24, (CNA) The first of three televised debates for five candidates vying for the chairmanship of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will kick off April 29 in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, a DPP official said Tuesday.
Hung Yao-fu, DPP deputy secretary-general, said the debates will be held in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taipei, on April 29, May 6 and May 12, respectively.
The five candidates are former Legislator Chai Trong-rong, former Tainan Mayor Su Huan-chih, former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, former Vice Premier Wu Rong-i and former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who is widely considered to be a strong contender.
The election for the DPP chair will be held May 27. According to party sources, the turnout will be around 50 percent of the more-than 160,000 members, so that around 40,000 votes for a particular candidate will be sufficient to secure victory in the race.
Meanwhile, two of the candidates said the party should win more support from the public to help boost its chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.
Wu said that the seven-in-one elections set for 2014 will be a precursor of the 2016 presidential election, referring to mayoral and council elections in the five municipalities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
The five other elections are for mayors, magistrates and councilors in cities and counties outside the five municipalities, township chiefs, township councilors, and village and ward chiefs.
"The urgent task for the party is to become a strong opposition party, and it should invite scholars, experts and ex-DPP administration officials to form a shadow cabinet to monitor the government and win public trust," Wu said.
He also said the number of DPP members is too small, which makes its mobilization weak, so that it should step up membership recruitment.
Hsu said that in the 2014 election, the DPP should encourage talent or new college graduates to pitch in for local ward chief elections.
He said the party should not ignore the ward chief elections, adding that victories in this area will boost the DPP's momentum in mayoral and magistrate elections.
(By Lin Sheng-hsu and Lilian Wu)