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Su wins Democratic Progressive Party chairmanship

Su wins Democratic Progressive Party chairmanship

The rise of Presidential Office Secretary General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to the top of the governing Democratic Progressive Party was confirmed yesterday by a poll in which he was the only candidate.In a total of 167 polling stations from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. around the nation, Su garnered 68,406 votes, or 99.71 percent of all votes cast, to claim the chairmanship.
The 19.73 percent turnout rate, although seemingly low in comparison to general elections, was almost double the rate of participation when premier-designate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) stood as the party's sole candidate for chairman five years ago.
Noting that the turnout rate for the previous chairman election stood at around 11 percent, Su had expected the turnout to be 10 percent.
It was more difficult to reach the aim now that "DPP members have increased by 200,000 over the past four years and the by-election is being held close to the Lunar New Year holiday," Su said.
Extending thanks to party colleagues for the unanticipated high turnout rate, Su said that he was deeply touched by seeing so many members show up in the poll.
The new chairman vowed to be a safeguard for democracy. He pledged to continue promoting ideals of a party he had helped establish with several comrades 18 years ago.
"Looking at the future, the DPP will build the widest avenue to reflect the broad will of the people, allowing more people to support the DPP," he said in a brief statement to reporters.
Yesterday's by-election was made necessary after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stepped down from his other post as DPP chairman, taking responsibility for the party's worse-than-expected performance in the December 11 legislative elections.
The DPP clinched 89 seats - far less than its target of over 100 seats in the 225-seat legislature.
The DPP is the only political party in Taiwan which allows party members to elect their leader through direct elections. The by-election yesterday was the third of its kind since 1998. Su has been traveling around the country over the past few weeks to secure votes, despite being the sole candidate for the poll.
The 58-year-old Su came to prominence as magistrate of Taipei County, making him a natural competitor with the main opposition Kuomintang's most popular politician-Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), for the 2008 presidential race.
In spite of the fact that the president is currently on a state visit to Palau, first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) cast her ballot at a polling station in Wanhua District to show the first family's support for Su.
While giving a speech in the South Pacific country yesterday, Chen also commented that "a strong (ruling) party can establish a powerful government...and in turn the nation will become strong, too."
Premier-designate Frank Hsieh and his wife, accompanied by Kaohsiung Mayor-designate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), also went to the polls.
Seen by some analysts as another possible DPP contender for the 2008 runoff, Hsieh said that he supports Su's bid for the chairmanship, "because a strong party will favor the promotion of administrative affairs."
The new chairman will officially assume his post at a ceremony slated for February 15.
The DPP also hosted some polling stations overseas, including one chapter on the U.S. east coast. The new chairman has obtained support from 40.53 percent of the overseas voters casting their ballots yesterday, a DPP official told the Central News Agency.


Updated : 2021-10-19 09:52 GMT+08:00