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Taiwan DPP Chair Tsai says party unity moved her to run in local election

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen said Monday she gained the confidence to run for Xinbei Mayor from the fact that 90 percent of party members re-elected her chairwoman.
At her first news conference after announcing her bid, Tsai, 54, said the result of the Sunday election was a sign that the party stood behind her.
The fact that “I found that there was sufficient unity inside the party and that it was stable gave me even more confidence to move forward,” she said.
The party announced on Sunday evening that Tsai had won re-election with 90 percent, while her only opponent, former Taipei County Magistrate Yu Ching, received 9 percent.
About an hour after the election results came out, Tsai issued a news release to announce she had decided to run for mayor of Xinbei, the administratively upgraded successor to Taipei County.
At her Monday news conference, she said the region was a microcosm of all of Taiwan’s society and the right place to begin implementing the ten-year policy master plan the DPP was working on.
Tsai also responded to accusations that she was only using the Xinbei election as a springboard for the 2012 presidential election.
“If we are elected, we will bear responsibility all the way,” she said.
Tsai’s opponent in Xinbei, ruling Kuomintang candidate former Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu, 49, welcomed her and expressed the hope that the race would be clean and stay free from rumor mongering.
He also said each candidate should promise he would “work hard for 1,461 days” as Xinbei Mayor and not run off before the end of the term. Tsai responded by saying Chu should first consider the hopes and welfare of the people of Xinbei before asking that question.
Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, the DPP candidate for mayor in Taipei City, earlier said he would not be running for president if he won the November city election. Su and Tsai are widely regarded as two of the most likely DPP presidential candidates.
Former Vice President Annette Lu said earlier that none of the ruling Kuomintang candidates would participate in the next presidential election, so they were highly likely to challenge Tsai over the issue.
Apart from Tsai for Xinbei, the other major move was the nomination of DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan, 54, to run for Taichung Mayor against incumbent Jason Hu, 62.
The party also confirmed that ex-Premier Su Tseng-chang, 63, would run for Taipei City Mayor against incumbent Hau Lung-bin, 58. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, 60, and lawmaker William Lai, 51, already won poll primaries for the Kaohsiung and Tainan areas respectively.
The DPP will officially confirm the nominations at a party meeting on Tuesday, but the process is widely seen as a formality.
The KMT nominated woman lawmaker Huang Chao-shun, 57, in Kaohsiung and former lawmaker Kuo Tien-tsai, 48, in Tainan.
There were reports that within the DPP, some thought Tsai could not combine the position of chairperson with the Xinbei candidacy. However, DPP lawmaker Huang Wei-cher rejected the comments by quoting examples of past DPP chairmen who ran for local offices or for legislative seats outside Taipei.