In the face of strong opposition from the party's local factions, the ruling DPP's Central Executive Committee yesterday agreed to call upon independent legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (
The decision, however, was immediately and strongly opposed by party members from the Tainan Division, who staged a protest at the DPP's Taipei headquarters.
The demonstrators threw eggs, waved banners and burst into the headquarters where they vented their anger, yelling, "We strongly oppose the party's decision to call upon Hsu," and, "The party has ignored the voices of local party members."
After learning of the protests against him, Hsu, however, appealed to the people of Tainan to give him a "second chance."
"Don't let resentment, which arose from past elections and the growth of factions, overshadow our cooperation. There is no issue on which we cannot be reconciled since we share the same political mission," Hsu said at a press conference yesterday afternoon, adding, "It's good to be back home."
Hsu, who has recently re-registered as a DPP member, yesterday said that he could sympathize with the protesters' anger, but that he hoped they would give "political idealists" like himself a chance to strive for a better future for the DPP.
Hsu, a former DPP member who left the party in 1995 to run in the legislative elections as an independent legislator, was defeated in Tainan's 1997 mayoral election by the party's candidate, George Chang (張燦鍙). A close friend and former classmate of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Hsu refused to endorse Chen in last year's presidential election. As a result, many view him as a traitor to the party and he has especially annoyed party members in Tainan.
But Hsu's performance in the legislature has enabled him to regain the party leadership's trust, especially following Chen's hint that the party would nominate any candidates who stood a good chance of winning the election.
Brushing aside protesters' concerns, the party's deputy secretary general Hsu Yang-ming (
He said that DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (
He added that heads of the party's Tainan headquarters had also been invited to attend the Central Executive Committee meeting to present their views.
"All considerations were taken into account and the decision at the CEC meeting was reached unanimously," Hsu Yang-ming said at a press conference after the meeting.
Hsu Yang-ming added that one of the protesters supported DPP legislator Lai Ching-te (
Incumbent Tainan Mayor Chang, who is in custody on corruption charges, is likely to try to run for a second term. He has argued that to do so would be the only way to clear his name, but he will now have to run as a non-DPP candidate.
The Central Executive Committee yesterday also agreed to ask Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), mayor of Keelung, to seek reelection to his post and national baseball star Chen Yi-hsin (陳義信) to run for a DPP seat as an aboriginal legislator.