Pro-Tsai candidate claims victory as new leader of Taiwan’s DPP

The result of the election is said to have significant implications for DPP in the run-up to 2020 president election

Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰)

Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) won the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leadership election on Jan. 6 to become the next chairperson of the party.

The by-election, which saw Cho pitted against chairman of the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, You Ying-lung (游盈隆), is widely seen as a vote on the future of the party, and will set the tone for the run-up to the presidential election in 2020, reported AFP.

Cho, 59, claimed 24,699 votes, or 72.6 percent, while You, 62, garnered 9,323 votes, according to the results announced by acting party chairman Lin Yu-chang (林右昌). With only 34,230 votes cast out of the 200,000-member base, the 16.9-percent voter turnout appeared much lower than the expected 30 to 40 percent, wrote Central News Agency.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) stepped down as chairwoman of the DPP following the rout of the DPP in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24, 2018. The by-election has been interpreted as a face-off between the pro-Tsai camp and a DPP faction opposed to Tsai, with the former claiming victory.

You, who has the support of the hardcore members of the pro-independence party and who has publicly criticized the Tsai administration, had gained much traction as a chairperson hopeful following DPP’s defeat in the local elections last year. However, Cho has regained momentum thanks to the backlash against Chinese President Xi’s speech threatening Taiwan and an open letter by DPP heavyweights urging Tsai not to run for re-election, reported Up Media.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Cho called on the people of Taiwan to stand united against China’s provocations and support Tsai, who has defiantly rejected Beijing’s “one country, two systems” formula and the so-called 1992 Consensus. Drawing an analogy to the sports of volleyball, Cho said, “when a front-row player spikes the volleyball, the back-row players should not engage in finger-pointing.”

The official results of the leadership election will be announced on Jan. 9. The tenure for the new chairperson ends on May. 19, 2020.