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DPP fails to reach consensus on presidential primary

2019/05/23 00:06:38

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could not reach a decision Wednesday on when its presidential primary should be held or how the public opinion polls should be conducted.

At a meeting of the party's Central Executive Committee earlier in the day, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) proposed holding a series of public opinion polls June 10-14 to decide on the party's 2020 presidential candidate, but the committee could not reach an agreement on the survey methods.

The fairness of the system cannot be undermined, Cho said after the two-hour meeting, adding that the rules announced in March for the party's presidential primary should prevail if consensus cannot be reached.

"I urge you all to think about that," he said. "We are sitting here today, in same place as on March 13. Did we approve the rules on the primary that day as a joke?"

According to the timetable agreed to on March 13, registration of the DPP candidates for the primary would have been held March 18-22, followed by public opinion polls April 10-12, and the Central Executive Committee's announcement of the presidential candidate on April 17.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) are vying for the DPP's nomination for the 2020 election but have been unable to reach an agreement on whether the primary process should include a direct comparison of their popularity rating or a comparison that includes the candidates of other parties.

At a press conference Wednesday after the Central Executive Committee meeting, which was streamed live for the first time, Lai said he would be willing to give way to Tsai under two conditions.

First, Lai said, he would give way if his popularity rating is found to be lower than that of popular Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), a possible candidate for the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), in a three-way comparison that includes Tsai.

The second condition under which he would yield to Tsai, Lai said, is if Tsai's popularity rating is higher than Han's.

Lai's proposal will be discussed next week at the DPP's next Central Executive Committee meeting.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Yeh Su-ping and Emerson Lim)
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