DPP Chair warns against party factionalism ahead of Taiwan 2020 election

William Lai or President Tsai? DPP prepares to choose its nominee for president

DPP Chair Cho Jung-tai

DPP Chair Cho Jung-tai (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), addressed media and party supporters on Wednesday following the announcement by former Premier William Lai that he would challenge presidential incumbent Tsai Ing-wen for the party’s presidential nomination.

Cho declared that the party’s candidate nomination process is reliable, and he urged the party away from factionalism ahead of the DPP nomination announcement which is expected in early to mid-April.

William Lai’s announcement on Monday, March 18, that he would challenge Tsai for the nomination, has generated some unease among the DPP and their supporters.

Despite a recent poll which suggests that Lai performs well when matched against either Tsai or Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je in popularity, Tsai’s support in the DPP remains strong, with 36 out of 68 sitting DPP national legislators signaling their continued support for Tsai Ing-wen to remain in her office.

In Cho Jung-tai’s address on Wednesday, March 20, he sought to mitigate any factionalism, and urged supporters, regardless of whom they support, to maintain their passion and commitment to the party without being too vocal or combative in the public sphere.

Cho gave no overt indication as to who the nominee might be for the 2020 general election.

The DPP chair urged against repeated displays of collective action like the online statement from national legislators supporting Tsai, or the announcement of support for William Lai issued by 17 DPP members of the Tainan City Council on Tuesday.

Cho urged party members to respect the selection process as the party strives for fairness and transparency. He observed that excessive displays of factionalism will send the wrong message to voters.

The party’s selection method has been tested and must not be a cause of division, stressed Cho. He cautioned party members and supporters against unnecessary, offensive, or overly emotional rhetoric following the nomination decision, reports Apple Daily.