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June 24, 2017

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Su, Hsieh exit DPP chair election

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) both announced their withdrawal from the looming chairman elections yesterday, leaving only one candidate in the race.

Along with former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Su and Hsieh had expressed a desire to run for the party's leading position.

Su's motive was allegedly to pave the way for the 2016 presidential elections, in which he is considered to be a potential candidate.

Registration for DPP chairperson hopefuls kicked off yesterday.

Stating that he was reluctant to see the party torn, Su declared he would "let go and stand back to fight for Taiwan's future," never forgetting his initial motives.

Being one of the party's founders, Su stated that he has a lot of sentiment for the DPP, but for the last two years he felt more deeply the people's high expectations in the DPP and also their pain when the party fell short of expectations.

"Despite the DPP's climbing approval rates that surpass the Kuomintang's, the people are expecting to have a party capable of defending Taiwan's values and the rights of the people ... it is obvious that we have not yet achieved this," said Su, who stressed that he would not be running for chairman as the party could do with less disputes.

"It is only a few months until the 2014 elections. In order to win, our energy should not be divided; there is less harm done with one match less ... the people will not wait for the DPP in this new wave of democracy. Only when we side with the people will the party have a future," the DPP chairman said.

Hsieh followed Su's announcement by stating he had expressed his decision not to run for chairman over the weekend. "As there are elections every year, competition is inevitable. But the main point is to avoid deepening the rift within party factions and to dissolve misunderstandings," said Hsieh.

Hsieh continued, saying that what the DPP needs is to abandon its factional differences and rekindle the people's passion and trust in the party and ultimately reaching the goal to return political decisions to the people. Hsieh called for the party to bear insults and the responsibility for spreading the positivity of the Sunflower Movement.

Tsai Says Will Shoulder Responsibility

"From now on, we must shoulder (the responsibilities) resolutely, to pick up from where things were left off and pass the (DPP's) legacy to the next generation," said Tsai of her forerunners' announcements.

Tsai lauded both Su and Hsieh's hard work and dedication to Taiwan's democracy.

After the last six years of pent-up dissatisfaction at the government, the student movement has been a release of positive energy which the DPP should learn from, said Tsai. "Teamwork is the responsibility of everyone in the party."

Tsai Should Exit Chair Race if Eying Presidency: Former VP

Meanwhile, former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday that if Tsai wants to run for president in 2016, she should not seek the chairmanship.

The ex-vice president said that a party leader should not be spending his or her time running for president when that time can be spent managing party affairs.

The next head of the DPP's main responsibility will be supporting DPP candidates in the seven-in-one elections at year-end, Lu said, adding that the chairman or chairwoman will not have time to launch his or her own campaign for the 2016 presidential election.

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