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Talk of the Day -- Whither Su Tseng-chang?

2014/04/14 17:35:46

Front, from right to left: DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, former Premier Frank Hsieh and former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

With incumbent Chairman Su Tseng-chang and another contender Frank Hsieh out of the picture, Tsai Ing-wen looks set to return to the top post of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in its party chairman election scheduled for May 25.

Despite claims by Su's aides that his decision not to run for re-election is unrelated to important local elections in Taiwan in November, there is speculation that the senior DPP politician could cause trouble for the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in two major battlegrounds.

The following are excerpts of the United Evening News' coverage of Su's withdrawal from the chairmanship race:

Su, 66, chose not to stand for re-election out of concern that the party would not stick together without his sacrifice, according to Su's aides. He will not run in any of the municipal elections to be held on November 29, they said.

Despite their claim, Su's decision has put pressure on the KMT in two ways.

First, the calls for the ruling party to also pass the baton to the younger generation are likely to grow now that both Su and Hsieh, 67, have stepped aside to make way for Tsai, 57.

Second, it is still possible Su could be fielded as a candidate in New Taipei, which he headed from 1997 to 2004 (when it was still known as Taipei County).

If Su were to run in New Taipei, it would complicate the plans of incumbent mayor Eric Li-luan Chu of the KMT if Chu wanted to run for president in 2016 without losing the city to an opposition challenger.

The DPP has nominated former Premier Yu Shyi-kun, 65, as its candidate in New Taipei although there has been persistent talk of a possible late change as Yu is widely seen as an underdog with little chance of winning.

There has also been speculation that Su could challenge KMT Magistrate Wu Chih-yang in Taoyuan County even though Wu is favored to prevail in any contest with a DPP opponent.

Regardless of whether Su is setting his sights on the presidential election in early 2016, his decision to pull out of the DPP race has put the KMT on the defensive while setting up a firewall for the party, which came under some criticism during a recent student-led protest movement.

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Related stories:
●April 14: Tsai Ing-wen emerges as sole candidate for top DPP post
●April 14: DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang will not run for re-election (update)
●April 13: Talk of the Day -- DPP bigwigs facing internal criticism
●April 12: DPP to open registration for party chairman election Monday