UPDATE: TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Executive Committee met Wednesday afternoon (May 22) to decide on a formula for selecting the ruling party’s candidate for the January 2020 presidential election.
The occasion was marked by protests outside and by disputes between supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former Premier William Lai (賴清德) over the precise formula to be used.
Since both registered for the nomination in March, opinions have diverged about how and when to conduct the opinion polls necessary to select the candidate. Tsai insisted on the inclusion of cellphone users, while Lai opposed changing the established rules once the process was already started.
One of the proposals on the DPP’s table Wednesday was reportedly to have half the polls using cellphones and the other half landlines, while the polls would be conducted in June. The surveys might also include comparisons between the DPP candidates and potential rivals from outside the party to see which DPP hopeful would have the best chance of defeating Kuomintang (KMT) opponents and independent Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).
Before the meeting, Lai and his supporters had said they would only accept cellphone polls if those were conducted before the end of May.
As the DPP Central Executive Committee met inside party headquarters, outside, more than 100 concerned party supporters appeared to express their worry about the process.
They bore placards calling for “fair primaries” and “DPP democracy has died,” while expressing the hope the party could make a fair choice without benefiting any one side in particular.
Prominent DPP supporters showed up outside, including former Formosa Television talk show host Dennis Peng (彭文正), who accused President Tsai of attacking Taiwan’s freedom of speech.
In a highly unusual move, the DPP Central Executive Committee decided to broadcast its meeting live on its Facebook page. It started with party leaders outlining what they had done so far regarding preparations for the selection of a nominee.
The presidential election has been scheduled for next January 11, but the KMT has also been struggling with its selection process, while Ko has indicated he might wait until August before deciding whether to run or not.
Live Stream of the meeting: