by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Social activists and incumbent lawmakers led the field as the Democratic Progressive Party presented its list of at-large legislative candidates Wednesday, but former Premier Frank Hsieh was not included.
At-large legislative seats are attributed according to the percentage each political party receives from voters, with candidates not being directly elected. Of the 34 candidates on the DPP list, observers estimated that the 14 to 16 at the top of the list could be safely elected next January 16.
The first eight candidates on the new list were all leaders of social movements and organizations, or at least active in such groups.
The top candidate was Wu Kuen-yuh, a professor from National Taiwan University specialized in public health, toxicology and food safety, reports said.
The first professional politician appeared at No.9, former Pingtung County Magistrate Su Jia-chyuan, who was DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen’s vice-presidential running mate in the 2012 election. He was being tipped as a potential candidate for vice speaker of the Legislative Yuan.
He was followed by a number of incumbent lawmakers, including Tuan Yi-kang, Cheng Li-chiun, Chen Chi-mai, Yu Mei-nu and Lee Ying-yuan, reports said.
The absence of Hsieh and of other prominent party veterans and former premiers was cited as a surprise by the media. Several months ago, reports emerged that Hsieh was hoping to run for legislator, either in a directly elected seat or on the at-large list, with the eventual possibility of becoming legislative speaker. Wednesday’s announcement ended those expectations for Hsieh. His absence was also interpreted as a bid to avoid factional infighting.
Wu was followed at the head of the list by Wu Yu-chin, an official with the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly, and Chen Man-li of the Homemakers United Foundation.
Prominent attorney Wellington Koo, who lost a bid last year to represent the DPP in the Taipei City mayoral election, came No.4 on the list. He was followed by Shih Hsin University assistant professor and prominent activist Frida Tsai, League for Persons with Disabilities official Wang Jung-chang, Taoyuan City Government Indigenous Affairs Commissioner Kolas Yotaka and Karen Yu, the chairwoman of Okogreen, a company involved in fair trade.
Chung Kung-chao, chief of labor affairs in the Kaohsiung City Government and a Hakka, followed the politicians on the list at No.15, while DPP women’s department head Lin Ching-yi rounded off the expected safe list at No.16.
The Kuomintang is expected to complete its at-large slate after party chairman Eric Liluan Chu returns from the United States on November 16.