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Tue, Feb 19, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Newsmakers: DPP lawmaker Hsu Jung-shu again raising eyebrows

MAVERICK A legislator at large and now DPP caucus secretary-general, Hsu has often raised a ruckus inside and outside the party. No one expects that to change

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmaker and DPP caucus secretary-general Hsu Jung-shu.


With an unseemly 18-day dispute over the DPP's three legislative leadership posts finally settled, media attention yesterday shifted to DPP legislator at large Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑), the only women elected to the once male-only preserve.

Hsu, who had originally set her sights on the chief convenor's post, eventually compromised to assume the post of caucus secretary-general.

She had argued that she was the candidate most qualified to lead the ruling party's legislative effort.

"I received the largest number of votes during the internal election [on Feb. 1]," she said. "In addition, it's time for a female lawmaker to assume a post which has always been held by men."

Her two male colleagues, Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Wang Tuoh (王拓), picked up the two more sought-after positions of chief convenor and chief executive, respectively.

The three were elected as the party's legislative leaders on Feb. 1.

The dispute between the three began after internal party voting chose them to lead the DPP legislative caucus.

According to DPP rules, after the top three vote-getters are announced, the trio should decide among themselves who the chief convenor, chief executive and secretary-general should be.

But days after the voting took place, a dispute among the trio over who should lead the caucus remained unresolved, embarrassing the ruling party just after the bruising fight over the vice legislative speaker.

Yesterday, after 18 long days, the three announced that a resolution had finally been found.

In the Feb. 1 election for legislative speaker and vice speaker, the 63-year-old Hsu, a loyal DPP member since the party's founding in 1986, drew intense media scrutiny for allegedly casting her vote for the KMT candidate.

Critics say she might have done so to vent her discontent at being forced out of the race.

In December, Hsu raised political eyebrows when she and two other female DPP lawmakers threw their weight behind a male colleague, Lin Chung-mo (林重謨), who compared an incoming female independent lawmaker to a "prostitute" during the "national affairs forum" in the Legislative Yuan.

The Legislative Review Committee eventually spared Lin of any disciplinary action thanks to a boycott staged by Hsu and two other female DPP lawmakers.

A graduate of National Taiwan Normal University, Hsu was compelled to start a political career in 1980 when her husband, incumbent DPP legislator at large Chang Chun-hung's (張俊宏), was jailed for his involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident.

When opposition parties were outlawed during the martial law era, the "Formosa generation" built a political movement around Formosa magazine and helped push Taiwan toward democracy and away from authoritarian rule.

On Dec. 10, 1979, a crackdown followed an anti-government parade in Kaohsiung organized by Formosa magazine.

The ruling KMT jailed eight people for their involvement in what later became known as the Kaohsiung Incident.

The "Kaohsiung Eight" included Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), former DPP chairmen Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介) and Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), then office manager of the Formosa magazine, the chairwoman of the Council of Labor Affairs Chen Chu (陳菊), theologian Lin Hung-hsuan (林弘宣) and Chang.

Hsu was a junior high school teacher when her husband was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In a bid to make ends meet during her husband's absence, Hsu decided to run for public office and was elected to the legislature in 1980 to represent Nantou, Chunghua and Taichung Counties and Taichung City.

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