Mon, Jan 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Yu Shyi-kun wins DPP chairmanship

NOW FOR REFORM The former premier and Presidential Office official said the poor turnout for the vote was pleasing because there was no inappropriate 'mobilization'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lin Wei-wu, 84, from Kaohsiung, fires off his trademark salute after the Democratic Progressive Party's chairmanship election yesterday. Lin has been present at every DPP election since the final days of the dangwai movement. The text on his shirt reads, ``Use your vote to save Taiwan.''

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Former Presidential Office secretary-general Yu Shyi-kun yesterday won a convincing victory in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairmanship election, garnering 54.4 percent of the vote.

Yu announced his victory over his two rivals in front of his residence at about 6pm, saying the election outcome showed that the DPP and its members were determined to implement reforms and move forward.

"I will invite other talent in the party to contribute their wisdom and effort and work for Taiwan and the DPP's future together," Yu said.

Yu received 25,397 votes, comfortably in front of DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), who received 16,846 votes (36.1 percent) and former Changhua County commissioner Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠), who trailed behind with 4,406 votes (9.5 percent).

The election was marred, however, by the less-than-enthusiastic turnout. Only 44,872 people voted, which amounted to only one-fifth of the party's membership that were eligible to vote.

The DPP has about 530,000 members, but only some 234,000 were able to vote in today's election. Because they had failed to pay annual fees, the remainder forfeited their right to participate.

At a 7pm news conference, acting DPP chairwoman Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) praised the contest as "fair and classy" and congratulated Yu on his victory.

"For the new chairman there is still a long way to go and many tasks awaiting him," Lu said. "But I believe that Yu's seasoned political experience will lead the DPP to regain the faith of the people of Taiwan and repolish the party's signboard of integrity, just as was the case with the former chairman's ... vigor and energy."

The election was held after the resignation of former chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who stepped down to take responsibility for the party's poor performance in local government elections on Dec. 3.

Within only a year, the DPP has now held two elections for chairman. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) resigned on Dec. 15, 2004, over the failure of the party to prevail in the 2004 legislative elections. Su left his post last month.

Commenting on the low turnout, Yu said that the situation was in fact pleasing because it proved that DPP members had not been mobilized inappropriately and that most voters "voluntarily" cast their ballots.

He said that party members needed to have their commitment rekindled and that this was another responsibility he would accept.

Yu also said that he called Chai and Wong to express his best wishes and to invite them to promote reform together.

"It is impossible to carry out campaign platforms on my own; it requires the collective effort and wisdom of many colleagues," Yu said, adding that he would visit Su soon to solicit ideas.

Chai, who attended the news conference, said he accepted the result and would coordinate with Yu to facilitate the implementation of party reform.

Yu said that he would make every effort to lead the party to win the next legislative elections because "if the DPP loses in 2007, it will be doomed in 2008 as well."

Asked if the Executive Yuan should request the legislature to reconsider budget bills, Yu said that such a significant decision needed comprehensive negotiations and the unanimous support of DPP legislators. Therefore, he said, a "sound and effective negotiation mechanism" had to be set up.

Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that he had not ruled out meeting with Yu if there were issues suitable for them to discuss.

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