Sat, May 27, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Lin confirms he is stepping down

NEW LEADER The DPP chairman's announcement has already caused feverish speculation as to who might take his place, with at least seven possible contenders

By Hung Chen-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG

Citing Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken, DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) announced yesterday that he would not reapply for the chairmanship post when his term expires in July.

"I have done what I promised to do. One can criticize me if my accomplishments are not good enough. But I have already done the best I could," Lin told a news conference.

He then went on to read Frost's poem in which the writer explains that finding himself at a fork in a path, taking the fork less traveled had "made all the difference."

Lin explained that to leave his job was his version of taking "the road less traveled." While some have urged him to stay, warning that the party might suffer if he stepped down, Lin said, "it is natural to leave the leading position because my term is up."

On the eve of Lin's announcement, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) visited Lin and the two talked in private for nearly two hours.

Lin, however, made no comment on the meeting yesterday, saying that he had clearly stated his decision to Chen. Lin also bowed to his colleagues to thank them for their support.

Concerning what he intended to do in the future, Lin said he had not thought that far ahead. He said, however, that he was willing to help the new chairman, whoever that may be, if he were needed.

Lin's decision is expected to cause vigorous competition among contenders for the party chairman position.

Possible candidates among legislators Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌), Yen Chin-fu (顏錦福), Trong Chai (蔡同榮) and Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) as well as former DPP chairman Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Kaohsiung City Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Lin declined to say which of the possible contenders he favored. He did however, say that he thought the main qualification for a successful party chairman was coordinating and finding consensus between the various party factions.

The DPP's main factions, however, indicated yesterday that President Chen's opinion would be crucial in deciding who would succeed Lin.

Among the seven contenders, three are from the newly established "Mainstream Coalition." The coalition's spokesman Shen Fu-hsiung, said however, that the group would reach a consensus on a single candidate to endorse. DPP legislators said that Trong Chai was a heavyweight candidate owing to his standing as the first-ranked Central Standing Committee member. Hung Chi-chang, however, has the support of the New Tide faction, and claims also to have the support of Lin himself. Frank Hsieh, however, has better name recognition outside the party.

According to a resolution made by the DPP's Central Standing Committee on Wednesday, candidates for the chairman post can register between May 29 and June 2 and the election will be held on June 25 by a ballot of the entire party membership.

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