Sun, Jul 21, 2002 - Page 3 News List

DPP hoping new blood will rejuvenate party

KEY PLAYERS The new heads of the party's information, policy and international affairs departments are expected to take a leading role improving internal communication

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Incoming DPP secretary-general Chang Chun-hsiung, gesturing, holds a press conference on Thursday to introduce newly appointed high-ranking party officials at the DPP headquarters in Taipei.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Slightly more than two years after taking power, the DPP will embark on yet another bold reform today when President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) assumes the party's chairmanship.

Taking its cue from its European counterparts, the party has also appointed seven lawmakers to top executive posts to shore up communication between its headquarters and legislative caucus.

Through this and other changes, the DPP hopes to restore its dynamism and gear up for the mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung in December and the presidential race in 2004.

Lawmakers Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who will head the party's departments of information, policy, and international affairs, respectively, are expected to play key roles.

Top gun returns

Dynamic, idealistic and articulate, Luo has always been ready to serve Chen.

Though a freshman lawmaker, he is no novice in playing the party's spokesman.

Luo, 36, held the same post between July 1999 and March 2000 and succeeded in helping Chen win the presidency.

He was director of the Information Department under Taipei City Government when Chen was mayor. Luo attributes his appointment to the party's wish to internalize in line with the legislature's rising importance in national politics.

"The party's main duty is to help the government make and execute policies," he said. "My department will strive to act as a nexus between the party, the government and the people so the latter may recognize the efforts the DPP has put in to promote their welfare."

Luo said he expected his job to be more challenging this time as the public will expect more of the party now that it is in power.

He did not deny that the series of reforms are related to the year-end mayoral race and the 2004 presidential elections.

"We must make preparations way ahead" to avoid being voted out in light of the sharp competition between the ruling and opposition camps, Luo said.

He is also a key member of the campaign team for Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the DPP's candidate for Taipei mayor.

The lawmaker said he had intended to focus on one thing at a time, but the party's lack of talent prodded him to accept his new appointment.

"It is time the party introduced new blood and allow younger people to shoulder greater responsibilities," he said, explaining why he hired a vice spokesman.

Luo jokingly added that when he agreed to take up the post, the president knew he would have to put up again with his meticulous style of doing business that borders on nitpicking.

Pro-independence theorist

Dubbed a pro-independence theorist, Lin Cho-shui has recently been named to lead the DPP's Policy, Research and Coordinating Committee.

Analysts have linked his appointment to Chen's wish to consolidate traditional DPP supporters.

The four-term lawmaker said he will seek to establish a platform of communication between the Cabinet and the legislature by strengthening the function of his committee.

To that end, Lin suggests providing the committee members with staffers so they may enhance their policy-making ability.

The committee is composed of 12 DPP conveners from the legislature's 12 standing committees. They are responsible for contacting their Cabinet liaisons.

"While in opposition, the DPP did a better job of setting the nation's political agenda," Lin said. "The committee will try to restore the dynamism without compromising political stability."

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