Mon, Mar 31, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chiayi's mayor is latest to jump on DPP bandwagon

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Independent Chiayi Mayor Chen Li-chen (陳麗貞) joined the DPP yesterday, becoming the seventh DPP regional leader in southern Taiwan.

Chen's action intensified the political divide between the north and south of the country as the former is dominated by the KMT, whereas the latter is predominantly controlled by the DPP.

The DPP is actively seeking to expand its regional influence ahead of next year's presidential election.

With two mass inductions of the nation's movers and shakers into the party since last July when President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) assumed the party's chairmanship, Chen's announcement gained widespread attention.

The mayor said at yesterday's induction ceremony, presided over by DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), that her decision was made not for her own political interests, but to "seek more benefits for Chiayi residents under the guidance of the central government."

Chiayi City politics has been dominated by the independent Hsu family for two decades, starting from Hsu Shih-hsian (許世賢) and succeeded by her daughters Chang Wen-ying (張文英) and Chang Po-ya (張博雅).

Chen served as the acting mayor when Chang Po-ya was invited to become a Cabinet member in 2000. She then won the mayoral election due to the support of the Hsu family faction in December 2001.

Chen said she chose to join the party owing to her connections with the Hsu family, which has been aligned with the DPP for the past 20 years.

Although Chang Po-ya has been alienated from the DPP which she blamed for her falied bid to become vice president of the Examination Yuan last summer, Chen said Chang respected her decision.

Chang Chun-hsiung praised Chen's ability as a public servant who had spared no effort to push for Chiayi's development.

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