DPP city councilor abandons legislative bid

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Liang Wen-chieh announced Thursday he was giving up his nomination for the legislative election after sharp criticism from former party leader Lin Yi-hsiung.
On May 22, Lin, who is no longer a member of the DPP, came out with a sharp attack on the party’s decision to nominate Liang even though he had only been elected city councilor last December. The quick transition from city councilor to legislative candidate was an affront to basic rules of democracy, Lin said.
Liang announced his decision to withdraw from the race for a seat in the Taipei City districts of Zhongshan and Songshan at a news conference Thursday after Lin launched a new attack on the DPP.
“Lin Yi-hsiung’s comments have already created a rift at the grassroots level, so I don’t know why I should still be fighting (this election),” Liang said. The city councilor said he still thought the DPP should nominate a candidate of its own for the seat, while also pointing out that he had been the biggest vote-getter in last November’s council election, which would have insured an extra legislative seat for the DPP.
Liang said he was stopping all campaign actions, but would be awaiting a decision by the DPP’s national leadership. He had been drafted by the party because the election district was seen as difficult to win for the opposition.
Lin’s latest criticism Thursday morning was aimed at DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. He asked to come out in the open and say whether she thought it was right or wrong for a city councilor who had been in office fewer than five months to be running for a legislative seat. He also said that Liang was not the only case, and that Tsai had agreed with him over a meal last April that the practice should be avoided.
The DPP leader did not have an immediate reaction to Lin’s latest comments, as she was visiting the United States.
Social Democratic Party leader Fan Yun told reporters Wednesday that her new political group did not share Lin’s assessment. Talks are still continuing between the DPP and several new groups which emerged from last year’s Sunflower Movement and want to contest seats in the January 16 elections.
The KMT candidate for the seat Liang was going to contest is Wayne Chiang, the son of former Foreign Minister John Chiang, who is a son of late President Chiang Ching-kuo. The younger Chiang surprisingly defeated prominent incumbent lawmaker Lo Shu-lei in the primaries.