Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

DPP internal feud exposes bitter rifts

FRATERNAL FEUD The war of words launched by Frank Hsieh's supporters heated up, with the premier's decision not to punish the TVBS one focus of attacks

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A bitter feud between supporters of two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights has intensified, exposing rifts over the party's future direction and who will become President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) successor.

Aides of former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) launched three consecutive days of critiques of Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) over Su's reversals of Hsieh's policies, bringing rumors of a power struggle between the two men bubbling up to the surface.

Su and Hsieh, who are seen as the leading DPP hopefuls for the 2008 presidential campaign, kept low profiles on the issue yesterday.

During his inspection of construction in Pingtung County and the construction of a barrier at Kaoping River in Kaohsiung County, Su refused to comment on the critiques and only responded with a smile.

On Friday, former Government Information Office (GIO) minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智) lashed out at Su, saying that Su had lost his moral integrity when he revoked the Hsieh Cabinet's decision to fine the TVBS network NT$1 million (US$31,300) for violating rules on foreign ownership.

Hsieh distanced himself from the matter when asked to comment on Yao's remarks, saying that he didn't know Yao would make the remarks and that he would advise Yao against criticizing the Cabinet.

"Yao is not my subordinate now. We are just friends. I will give him advice as a friend," said Hsieh, who stepped down in January following the DPP's crushing defeat in local elections.

He said that it shouldn't be assumed that all his previous subordinates are part of his "entourage."

"Everyone has his own opinions," Hsieh said.

Su resigned as DPP chairman to take responsibility for the poor election showing, and was then appointed to replace Hsieh as premier in January by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Hsieh and Su, however, didn't succeed in quieting the row between their current and former subordinates, as Yao and Albert Lin (林耀文) -- Hsieh's long-time personal assistant -- exchanged words yesterday with GIO Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦).

"Fining TVBS was the correct decision. The Su Cabinet's failure to insist on this step toward media reform was a shame. It will damage the DPP's reform image," Yao said.

TVBS was fined by the GIO last November for violating the Satellite Broadcasting Law (衛星廣播電視法) by having more than 50 percent direct foreign ownership.

The punishment, which came not long after one of the station's program broke a political scandal, caused an uproar and led to accusations that the government was muzzling the media.

The Committee of Appeal of the Executive Yuan revoked the punishment on Friday, saying that after having studied the intention of the Satellite Broadcasting Law and the considerations for issuing licenses to the station, it decided the punishment was not legitimate.

Lin also criticized the Cabinet yesterday, saying it had deliberately overridden some of Hsieh's policies, which he said the Su Cabinet was supposed to follow.

"Hsieh had tried to control oil prices and electricity prices, but Su hasn't been doing so. Hsieh's `Six Stars Plan' for healthy communities was also delayed," Lin said.

In response, Cheng called on Hsieh's aides to understand that everyone in the DPP was "in the same boat."

Cheng said that the decision to revoke TVBS' fine was made by the members of committee appointed by Hsieh, and that the decision should be respected.

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