Taiwan ex-President wonders about what will happen if incumbent loses primaries

If difference falls within margin of error, Tsai camp could contest the result: Chen

Ex-President Chen Shui-bian (photo from his Facebook page)

Ex-President Chen Shui-bian (photo from his Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – If President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) loses the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primaries by the narrowest of margins, will a party congress nevertheless still nominate her, former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) wondered Tuesday (June 11).

The DPP presidential primary opinion polls are being conducted from June 10 until 14, with at stake the party’s candidate in the January 11, 2020 election.

Commenting on Facebook, Chen, who was Taiwan’s first president from the DPP from 2000 to 2008, voiced doubts about the fairness of the polls.

Talk show hosts have been wondering about what might happen if Tsai’s challenger, ex-Premier William Lai (賴清德) finishes just 1 percent ahead of her. Even if he received 5 to 6 percent more votes than the incumbent, the Tsai camp could still claim the difference was within the polls’ margin of error, Chen suggested.

He said a DPP congress might decide to pass over the primary results and decide straight away to name Tsai as its presidential candidate.

Chen mentioned the 2011 primaries, when Tsai only finished 1.35 percent ahead of current Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), but nobody ever mentioned the margin of error to fight the result.

The DPP chairman might have promised he would respect the result, but on May 29, the party nevertheless still changed the rules to include cellphones in the primary polls, the former president pointed out.

If Tsai really loses the primaries, she should acknowledge and support Lai as the party’s presidential nominee, Chen said, cautioning the party chairman not to make too many promises.