Frank Hsieh (below) says it is time for the DPP's new generation to take the reins, a sign that he favors the party's chairperson, Tsai Ing-wen (top left) over former premier Su Tseng-chang (top right) in next year's presidential race. (Composite Photo)
Frank Hsieh, a former premier of Taiwan, has ruled out a bid for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidacy in the 2012 presidential election, setting the stage for a competition between the party's chairperson, Tsai Ing-wen, and Su Tseng-chang, also a former premier, for the oppposition party's nomination.
Hsieh was the party's candidate in the 2008 presidential election, backed by Su Tseng-chang as the vice presidential candidate.
"I see no reason why I should challenge a leader of the next generation within the party." Hsieh said at an anti-nuclear demonstration outside the Legislative Yuan, when asked whether he would throw his hat in the ring.
Hsieh said Tsai is the leader of the party's new generation and enjoys high popularity. He hopes the party's next generation will win the support of the people and there is no reason for him to compete against a new leader.
Meanwhile Su, who has not yet officially announced his bid for the DPP nomination, touted the fight for democracy waged by many political dissidents on the island in a speech at Taipei's Chinese Culture University on Friday (Mar. 18).
"Democracy and freedom are values recognized around the world. Many local college students take them for granted without knowing that they were obtained through the struggle of many political dissidents."
Su told his audience that the country used to have an organization called Taiwan Garrison Command which was set up to rid the country of political dissidents.
Tsai Ing-wen, Su's only rival within the party for the presidential nomination thus far, meanwhile visited former premier Yu Shyi-kun on Friday to seek the DPP heavyweight's support.
Yu affirmed Tsai as a suitable leader for the country as it faces the challenges brought by increasing globalization.
He said Tsai, who has been branded an atypical leader for the traditionally pro-independence party, would eventually be the model for a new type of DPP leader.
Tsai rejected Su's idea of choosing the party candidate via opinion polls rather than via a primary, saying the selection process is more important than who is chosen.
Tsai, who announced her candidacy for the DPP nomination on March 11, dismissed the concerns of many party members about whether the country is ready for a female president, saying that a female head of state would represent the realization of gender equality in Taiwan and would be a sign of the country's freedom from convention.