Fri, Dec 12, 2003 - Page 1 News List

DPP may pardon former members


Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday proposed pardoning hundreds of people who had been expelled from the party, saying their return could help President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with his re-election bid.

"We hope to see a pardon issued by Chairman Chen Shui-bian, who is also the DPP presidential candidate for 2004 presidency, to those expelled members," said Legislator Du Wen-ching (杜文卿). "We believe that their return would contribute to the party's chances of winning the election."

Du, who is also a member of the DPP's Central Review Committee, said the DPP should invite former members who have left the party because of ideological conflicts or internal competition to return, arguing that the move would demonstrate the party's goodwill.

With the presidential election looming, the DPP should show goodwill to former members while also being magnanimous to some controversial figures from other parties who may have had checkered pasts during the martial-law era, Du said.

Legislator Kuo Jung-chung (郭榮宗), however, said the generosity would not be extended to everyone.

"There are a few exceptions, such as Sisy Chen (陳文茜), to the proposed pardon since we cannot imagine the chaos she would bring to the DPP by her return," Kuo said.

Since 1997, 340 members have been expelled by the DPP. Most of them were forced to leave the party after violating the party's rules by running independent election campaigns or assisting non-DPP candidates.

Du said that inviting these people back would increase the DPP's chances of victory, as most of them still shared views with the DPP.

Another legislator, Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), agreed that the DPP should demonstrate to voters that it is a party with an open mind and diverse opinions.

"The pardon means that the DPP is opening a door to anyone who is willing to restore their memberships. Those people must share a similar political view with the party," Tsai said when asked to comment on the possible return of former DPP chairmen Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良).

The two left the DPP because of differences with the rest of the party.

But Legislator Lo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) remained cautious.

"The pardon is a good idea. But implementing the idea requires a complicated change of the rules. It could also create controversy by jeopardizing the rights of other DPP members who obey the party's rule," Lo said.

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