Following prosecutor Eric Chen's (
The anti-Chen demonstrations are dwindling, and the pan-blue camp has yet to launch any particularly effective attack, but the president is still at risk -- from those within his own party.
Several members of Chen's inner circle, including former close aides and advisers, have withdrawn their support. This development could ultimately result in a split in the pan-green camp.
Last Thursday, former senior presidential adviser Luis Kao (
Yesterday, DPP legislators Lee Wen-chung (
Lin and Lee were important leaders of the DPP's New Tide faction. It will be interesting to see if their decision will have a domino effect among their former faction colleagues and/or lead to the creation of a new anti-Chen force.
Chen Shui-bian believes that the root of the "state affairs fund" scandal is a flawed system, the result of inconsistencies between accounting and auditing bodies. Chen has taken this line in his defense against the attacks on him by the pan-blue camp and former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh's (
Chen must think carefully about his next move. If he decides to fight until the end, he must immediately convene a meeting of the DPP's Central Executive Committee. Party members and legislators must engage in frank and open dialogue and find a way for Chen and the DPP to handle the scandal that will do the least possible damage to the party and government.
Chen must also consider the enormous and unprecedented uncertainty in Taiwanese politics that his departure would present, be it through resignation or temporary leave. For the sake of political and social stability, as well as cross-strait and international security, it's all the more important for Chen and the DPP to have a comprehensive plan mapped out to avoid more turmoil.
This is a difficult choice, but Chen needs to make the right decision and soon. Otherwise the crisis will escalate.