Despite calls for him to stay, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday resigned over the party's moderate "normal country resolution," which passed the DPP's Central Executive Committee yesterday.
The abrupt resignation came as a surprise to many because Yu had said on Monday that he would resign after the National Congress on Sunday following his indictment along with Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and National Security Council Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) last Friday for alleged forgery and misuse of special allowance funds.
Yu, however, resigned at around midnight on Wednesday after the party's Central Standing Committee approved a version proposed by Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) earlier the same day.
Yesterday's provisional Central Executive Committee meeting was called at the behest of President Chen to discuss Yu's resignation and the diluted version of the resolution. The amended version is expected to pass the party's National Congress on Sunday.
The committee passed the amended resolution unanimously. Committee members also resolved to ask Yu to stay because they believed that he, Lu and Mark Chen are innocent.
To show their sincerity, Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (
The committee agreed to let Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) host the party celebrating the DPP's 21st anniversary tomorrow.
They said they did not discuss whether the president should take over as chairman because they hoped Yu would change his mind and chair the National Congress.
Describing Wednesday's version of the resolution as "ambiguous," Yu told a press conference yesterday morning that he was disappointed that none of the party leaders at Wednesday's meeting supported his proposed amendment.
Yu said he had no choice but to yield, adding that he was told that if he pushed his version, the congress might be postponed.
"To remove the articles concerning the name change and enactment of a new constitution from the resolution is to remove its spirit," Yu said. "What is the DPP afraid of? The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]? China? Or has it simply lost faith in the Taiwanese public?"
The DPP's Central Executive Committee passed its "normal country" draft resolution on Aug. 30, highlighting the need for the nation to hold a referendum at an appropriate time on de jure independence.
The draft, however, did not say that "Taiwan" should be the national title, but only stipulated that the nation should correct its title and write a new constitution.
Yu has said the party should specifically use "Taiwan" as the national title to "declare to the international community that it is an independent country."
Yu said US and Beijing opposition to Taiwan's UN membership bid prompted him to propose the amendments. This is the perfect time to stress Taiwan's independence, he said.
Yu said he did not think his amendment would upset the US or hurt the DPP in the legislative and presidential elections, but instead would consolidate its support base.
Yu said he would not attend Sunday's Natonal Congress or the party's anniversary party tomorrow and would not run as an independent candidate in the presidential election.
At a separate event yesterday, Chen Shui-bian asked Yu to stay on and lead the party to victory in next year's legislative and presidential elections.
Meanwhile, DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (ÁÂªø§Ê) said that Yu's version of the resolution had not been rejected because of fear of China.
Hsieh said that since the resolution was a major national issue, the party had to respect the opinion of the president. It is also the responsibility of the administration to take into account relations with other countries.
Hsieh said he would respect Yu's decision if he decided to leave and would support Chen Shui-bian taking over the party's helm.
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