Sat, Nov 03, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Party official says Chen should serve as DPP chairman

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should serve as the DPP's chairman to help put an end to factional infighting that threatens to undermine the party, DPP heavyweight Sheng Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) said yesterday.

In his new book The Premier Voyage of the Century (世紀首航), Chen writes that infighting has prevented the DPP from ditching its opposition mindset and becoming a truly ruling party.

"The president should serve concurrently as the party's chairman, in order to settle the disagreements between his administration and the party," Sheng said yesterday.

In addition, Sheng said the president should dismiss his nine-member policy-making task force, as it's no longer able to coordinate effectively between the government and the party.

Shortly after the DPP came to power, Sheng called for the party to allow its elected officials to play leading roles in the DPP's policy-making process.

"We can learn from the US, where political parties only serve as `election machines,'" Sheng said. "Two of the party's major responsibilities then would be to nominate electoral candidates and raise funds for election campaigns," Sheng once told the Taipei Times.

The DPP heavyweight added that party policy should be reserved for the party's candidates and elected officials to debate and decide.

Sheng's proposal, however, did not attract much support at the time.

Many have clung to the party's long tradition of honoring its Central Standing Committee and National Congress as its highest policy-making bodies, both of whose members are democratically elected to represent the voices of the DPP's members.

The election of its party chairman by its members was also a progressive and democratic model that the KMT followed, many DPP heavyweights said.

Because Chen has blamed the party's dysfunctional policy-making bodies for failing to deliver him the support necessary to govern, Sheng renewed his proposal yesterday.

Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), a member of the party's New Tide (新潮流) faction, said Chen should incorporate the party's Central Standing Committee into his administration and expand its policy-making powers.

Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), of the party's Justice Alliance (正義連線), said that the committee should be reformed, as seats on the policy-making body are mostly occupied by faction members.

Leader of the party's Welfare State Alliance (福利國連線), Trong Chai (蔡同榮), said the party's central headquarters should take the initiative in mapping out reform plans, but downplayed the seriousness of factional infighting.

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