DPP legislators fail to select new caucus whip

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday failed to select a new whip after holding a meeting to fill three caucus positions — whip, director-general and chief secretary — ahead of the legislative session which begins on Wednesday.

The legislature is likely to be the DPP’s primary battlefield in the next four years after it won 40 of 113 legislative seats — 13 more than four years ago — in the Jan. 14 elections.

More than 30 DPP legislators attended the meeting, but they could not decide between a pair of front-runners for caucus whip — incumbent caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and legislator-elect Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財).

The caucus decided to give Ker and Hsu until 6pm on Tuesday to reach an agreement, otherwise the party would vote on Wednesday to fill the position, DPP Director-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said after the meeting.

The same deadline was also given to Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), who are vying for the director-general position, Tsai said.

As for the chief secretary, the caucus favors a female legislator for the position, Tsai said.

He said the caucus whip’s term would be extended from six months to a year, while the director-general’s and chief secretary’s terms would remain six months so that more legislators could gain experience in administrative affairs.

According to party regulations, the caucus whip, the director-general and the chief secretary must be members of the Central Standing Committee.

The caucus will also nominate a legislative speaker and a deputy speaker, even though the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) holds a majority in the legislature with 64 seats.

A five-member panel composed of Ker, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) has been given the task of interparty coordination and negotiations regarding Wednesday’s speaker election, Tsai said.

Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Ker denied that the race for the caucus whip position was linked to competition between factions within the party ahead of May’s election of a new DPP chairperson, following Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) decision to resign after her loss in the presidential election.

Hsu said his decision to run for caucus whip was not backed by any faction, adding that he was confident of his ability to manage the caucus, having served as party whip in 2001.