Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Issue of Chen’s return splits DPP

By Lin Cho-shui 林濁水

The party’s head office also passed the buck to the local chapter, telling it to review Chen’s application by itself, and the local chapter later passed the buck back to head office.

The two sides were at each other a dozen times in the space of a few days before the local chapter announced that it would conduct a “preliminary review,” leaving a “substance review” to the head office. The party’s Central Standing Committee had no choice but to pass the buck to the head office’s party membership application team.

Su’s statement was rather strong. Although he dared not say it clearly, the word “calculating” in his statement refers to some party members’ claim that the DPP will lose the 2014 and 2016 elections if it allows Chen to rejoin the party.

DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) echoed Su’s statement, saying that Chen’s eight-year rule is part of the party’s history, and that it would be opportunistic should he be denied the opportunity to rejoin the DPP and kept at arm’s length.

As Ker said, the merits and demerits of the party’s eight-year rule were not solely down to Chen, and that all party members who served in his administration should take collective responsibility. This is odd. It is Chen that wants to rejoin the party. His application should be put under the spotlight, not the party itself.

I believe that Ker made the comments in response to Ko, who refused to sign a petition supporting Chen’s return because it was not the right time, claiming that the party would lose the 2014 and 2016 elections if it did not distance itself from Chen.

Moreover, Ko suggested that Su and Ker hold a conference to discuss the merits and demerits of Chen’s eight-year rule as soon as possible, and acknowledge the party’s record while in office.

Ker’s response was quite clever: He argued that reviewing Chen’s performance would be a huge undertaking for the party, and that to review the performance of whoever served within the Chen administration would be nigh impossible. In other words, if the party is unable to review the performance of all the party members who benefited from Chen’s presidency, it is unnecessary to review Chen’s performance, and the party should approve his application.

However, according to this logic, it was wrong for the Chinese Communist Party to have an overall review of the merits and demerits of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東).

As Ker said, rejecting Chen’s application without acknowledging and reviewing the DPP’s history or sharing the responsibility together is opportunistic.

This might sound legitimate on the surface. However, if the party welcomes Chen without reviewing itself first, it will not only be regarded as opportunistic, it will also be condemned by the public. In that case, it is doomed to lose the 2014 and 2016 elections. This should certainly be taken into consideration.

Above all, calculation is the very essence of politics, and those who cannot calculate have no business being in the game. The problem does not lie in calculation, indeed the DPP must calculate the gains and losses for the sake of the public, as well as of the party.

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