Mon, Jul 29, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Top officials to join DPP in ceremony

EXPANDING REACH Many of the new members joining the DPP tomorrow hold top government posts and come from the social and intellectual elite

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Roughly 50 new members -- mostly top executive officials and members of the nation's social and intellectual elite -- will join the DPP tomorrow at a ceremony presided over by President and DPP Chairman Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

It will be the largest mass entry of elite into the DPP since the party was established in 1986. The party has approximately 400,000 members.

"It's a norm of party politics for political appointees designated by the ruling party to be its members," said lawmaker Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), director of the party's culture and information department.

But the director did not deny that the recruitment drive is intended in part to boost the image of the DPP after Chen took over the reins of the party last Sunday.

The DPP has been trying to increase its talent base by recruiting senior members of the government since May, when the party decided Chen would be its new chairman.

Along with professionals from academic, medical, law, business and high-tech circles, high-profile executives such as Deputy Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三), Public Construction Commission Chairwoman Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪), National Youth Commission Chairwoman Lin Fang-mei (林芳玫) and Senior Advisor to the National Security Council Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) are expected to attend the ceremony tomorrow.

Wu told reporters yesterday that he was pleased to be invited to join the DPP because he has long agreed with the party's ideals. He considered joining the DPP as "a matter needed to be done."

Also on the list are Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通); Lin Te-fu (林德福), chairman of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; Council for Cultural Affairs Vice Chairman Wu Mi-cha (吳密察); and Council of Labor Affairs Vice Chairman Kuo Chi-jen (郭吉仁).

Rejecting criticism that the recruitment drive will harm the objectivity of governmental departments, presidential officials stressed that targets of the effort were selective and they have respected the decisions of individual officials on whether they want to join the party.

They said officials serving in security departments such as the Ministry of National Defense and the National Security Bureau as well as finance departments including the central bank and Ministry of Finance were not invited because they need to stay politically neutral.

MAC Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was reportedly not invited because it's best for her to refrain from party activities due to her highly sensitive position. Environmental Protection Administration head Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was not called because he's a member of the New Party.

Eugene Chien (簡又新) was invited but declined the offer, saying "diplomatic affairs have unique characteristics."

Chien was a KMT member until January last year, when he let his membership lapse.

Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀), chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs and wife of late DPP lawmaker Lu Hsiu-yi (盧修一), also turned down the invitation.

Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥), the newly installed vice minister of defense for administrative affairs, will reinstate his DPP membership which was suspended in 1993, when he became a member of the Control Yuan.

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