Wed, Apr 17, 2002 - Page 3 News List

DPP members have change of heart

PARTY REFORMS Opponents of a measure to have the president serve as DPP chairman when the party is in power are now saying that they support the idea

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the DPP is set to adopt a proposed measure allowing the head of state to double as the party's chairman, party heavyweights who had originally opposed the idea expressed their support for the first time yesterday.

The party is scheduled to hold an extraordinary national congress on Saturday to decide whether to let the head of state serve concurrently as the party's chairman.

If the measure is approved by two thirds of the 386 assembly members, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will become the new party chairman on May 26, when the party is scheduled to elect a new chairman.

"It's not really so important who becomes the next party chairman, as long as the individual is able come up with supplemental measures to help strengthen the operations of party affairs," said Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), senior adviser to the president.

Yao, who has expressed a keen interest in running for chairman, defined "party affairs" as the party's ideals and stance on significant issues, partisan diplomacy, training of party members, partisan organization and communication and campaigning.

Yao told reporters before the DPP's weekly closed-door Central Standing Committee yesterday that he has informed the president of his ideas and will talk with him again in a few days about his proposals.

Yao had originally opposed the idea of having the head of state serve concurrently as the party chairman, saying the president may not have time for the two jobs.

Yen Chin-fu (顏錦福), who is also interested in making a third bid for the chairmanship, said that he has dropped the idea of running after meeting with Chen on Sunday.

"I now shift to support the president to serve concurrently as the party chairman, because he told me that he's willing to shoulder the responsibility of the party if the national assembly approves the proposal," Yen said.

Originally worried that Chen would be breaking his campaign promise of staying out of party affairs if he takes up the party helm, Yen said that he now understands that the president had a reason to make the promise.

"When he pledged to be a president of all the people, he had a reason. That is, he wanted to see then party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) continue to lead the party because he's such a wonderful man," he said.

In addition to championing the measure of having the head of state lead the party when the party is in power, DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) proposed to add between one and three vice chairmen to the party's organization and expanding the size of the Central Standing and Central Executive Committees.

If approved, the Central Standing Committee would grow from 11 members to 15, while the Central Executive Committee would increase from 31 to 35.

The congress will consider Hsieh's proposals as well as other proposals filed by other party members.

After the meeting, which is estimated will last for three hours, Chen, Hsieh and Premier Yu Shyi-kun are scheduled to speak.

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