Sun, Apr 14, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker says Chen shouldn't be chair

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A senior DPP lawmaker said yesterday he would fight to block proposed revisions to the party's charter allowing President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to serve concurrently as the party's chairman.

DPP legislator Yen Ching-fu (顏錦福), who co-founded the party 16 years ago, slammed the suggested reform as "suicidal" that he would endeavor to forestall its implementation.

The party will convene a special national congress on April 20 during which hundreds of delegates are expected to approve revisions to its charter requiring the president to act as its chairman when the DPP is in power.

"I was jailed for two-and-half years in the 1960s for opposing the KMT's dictatorial rule," Yen told the Taipei Times.

"The sacrifice would be futile if I fail to prevent the DPP from embarking on a course that led to the KMT's downfall."

The four-term lawmaker agreed that the DPP is in need of reform but argued that the proposal to integrate the party and the government will promise no solution.

"It is true that quite a few members haven't known what to fight for since the transfer of power," Yen said.

"But I don't see how, by having the president lead the party, the problem can be solved."

He noted that to preserve stability, the president has at times had to make decisions that run contrary to the party's platform.

As an example he cited Chen's failure to scrap the partially-built Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四).

"It would be odd for Chen to continue doing so if he is made the party's leader," Yen said.

"How can he expect other members to obey internal rules in the future?"

Yen, a member of the party's Welfare State Alliance faction, is interested in the chairmanship himself and has been touring around the country seeking support from fellow members.

The ambition will be derailed if the upcoming congress adopts the reform as drafted by the party's headquarters.

Yen claimed that many members share his misgivings, noting that the DPP won the presidency in 2000 owing mainly to its fierce attack on the KMT for failing to separate the government from its party machine.

"How can we convince our supporters of the turnabout in a short and simple phrase like `vote for alternate rule' that helped us capture the presidency," he asked.

"It would be better for the party to shun reckless moves or it may risk losing power in 2004."

Proponents of party politics dismiss Yen's concerns as unwarranted, noting that the DPP does not own any profit-making businesses.

Though vowing to quit DPP activities upon his inauguration, Chen has recently hinted that he is willing to chair the party.

"As a DPP member, I cannot sit watching the party wither. Nor do I think the party should be reduced to an election machine," the president said during an on-line chat this month.

The president also said in the chat that "this is my duty and responsibility, not a privilege."

Still, Yen said he is not afraid of playing the gadfly for what he called the party's interests.

To that end, he suggested the party sponsor a series of forums to develop a new platform that may serve as glue to unite the party and attract more supporters.

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