Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lu surprises by deciding not to resign

ABOUT-FACE Despite earlier vows that she would step down as acting DPP chairwoman, the vice president created a stir by saying that she will stay

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday that she is determined to stay on as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman, making a surprising about-face after having vowed earlier in the day to disregard pleas from DPP members that she reconsider her decision to step down.

Although Lu had said that she would not attend a meeting of the DPP's Central Standing Committee yesterday to discuss possible candidates to take over as acting party head after she offered to resign on Monday, the vice president announced that she would attend after all.

According to DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋), the committee had thought that Lu would explain her reasons for stepping down at yesterday's meeting.

"But Lu accepted the committee members' reassurances of goodwill and decided to stay," Lee told a news conference after the meeting, which had lasted for three hours.

"We didn't vote about asking Lu to stay, and nobody opposed it. There was consensus among the committee members to ask Vice President Lu to stay," Lee said.

Wearing a red coat and a pair of sunglasses, Lu left the meeting with a smile.

"I thank the Central Standing Committee members for their goodwill," was her only response to reporters' questions.

Lee said that the DPP has asked committee members not to issue comments to the media about the sudden change.

"We think that many media outlets have been misrepresenting the process of recommending a new chairperson, so this time we will make a concerted effort to clarify the process and lay rumors of manipulation to rest. We therefore resolved that members should not comment on the discussions," Lee said.

He added that the DPP will elect a new chairperson on Jan. 15.

Party members who are interested in running for the chairmanship will be able to register from tomorrow until Dec. 20, and a review of candidates' qualifications will be held on Dec. 21. The result of the election will be announced on Jan. 18, Lee said.

A televised debate will be held among the candidates, he said.

Before announcing her surprise decision yesterday, Lu had maintained that she would not stay on as acting chairwoman, and would disregard committee members' pleas to stay.

According to committee member Chou Ching-yu (周清玉), the atmosphere at yesterday's meeting was "quite good," and many of the attendees urged that party unity be prioritized at the meeting.

Chou was the first to ask Lu to stay, and committee member Cheng Po-ching (鄭寶清) later echoed Chou's remarks, DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Lu wiped away tears at one point while Chou was asking her to stay on as acting leader, Ker said.

Before the meeting, Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun said that the DPP is facing huge obstacles, and selflessness and unity is the only way for the party to make any progress.

"As long as we are united and unselfish, reforms will not be far away," Yu said.

Also see story:
Lu's about-face gets mixed reaction

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