by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Candidates for the list of at-large legislators will be judged according to their professionalism and their interaction with voters, Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said Saturday.
With the January 16 presidential and legislative elections approaching rapidly, the main opposition party is expected to prepare its list soon. Voters cannot cast their ballot for individual candidates on the at-large list, who are elected according to the percentage of the vote the party receives overall.
In the past, at-large candidates were often selected based on factional affiliation in order to keep all factions within the party happy, but Tsai has vowed to stay away from the practice.
The party leader, who is also the frontrunner in the race for the presidency, said Saturday that the key factors in selecting the at-large candidates would be their professionalism, their ability to interact with voters, their past behavior and their views and ideas.
Former Premier Frank Hsieh echoed Tsai’s views, saying that factions should not take precedence over the interests of the party as a whole. He said that as the DPP had once banned all factions, it was fine if there were no factions left.
Hsieh himself was once seen as an important factional leader, with several lawmakers seen as close to him. Over the past few years he also emphasized better relations with China, which set him apart from most other DPP lawmakers.
After running for president in 2008, Hsieh kept a relatively low profile, but media reports said he might run for a seat at the next legislative election, most likely on the at-large list.