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Upcoming DPP election heats up 'two suns' issue

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An upcoming election for the chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is reported to have drawn attention to the alleged feud between current Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

The two DPP leaders, who were last month dubbed by Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) as the party's “two suns” for their ongoing power struggles, have each been rumored to harbor wishes to reclaim the party's throne once more.

According to DPP regulations, the term of office for party chairperson is two years. Su is reaching the end of his term, as he was voted chairman in May 2012; this year would mark Su's first attempt at re-election to the chairmanship if he were to run for the post.

Tsai, Su Deny Bid for Chairmanship

Su's current priority is to fulfill his duties as chairman and take responsibility for the looming mayoral elections, said DPP spokesman Chang Chun-han (張惇涵) on Su's outlook regarding the election for party chair.

It was reported that DPP members have also been rooting for Tsai to reclaim the post, voicing support which the Tsai team immediately seized upon. “Tsai has no intention of running for party chair so far, but she will take everyone's suggestions into account,” said Tsai's office director Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福).

The next chair will oversee the next round of presidential elections during his or her term in office, meaning that whoever is in the position will have access to resources facilitating a run as the party's nominee for the presidency. Both Tsai and Su may run for president in 2016, a rumor that reflects Ko's concerns over potential power struggles. Ko had suggested multiple times that if one runs for the post of party chair, he or she should not enter the subsequent presidential elections.

Elections to Determine Remaining Sun

“Although the issue of having two suns may fizzle out before the elections for party chair, there will be only one chair after they end, and therefore only one sun,” said former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水).

If both Tsai and Su decide to run for the post, the party may adopt the mindset of “choosing whoever is the better candidate for president as the chairman as well,” said Lin.

Lin also noted that according to party regulations, the chairperson elections will not decide which candidate is left to pursue the position of presidential nominee, as the latter is usually determined by the party's traditional voting system.

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