Mon, Jan 13, 2003 - Page 2 News List

New Tide holds sway in DPP caucus whip election

By Lin Chieh-Yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The DPP's 88 legislators will today vote for their three caucus whips, with support from the New Tide faction seen as crucial to the five candidates' hopes of success.

Up for grabs are the posts of chief convener, chief executive and secretary general, who each serve one-year terms.

Chief convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Justice Alliance member Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) both seek the New Tide faction's 20 votes. Though some members of the faction had expressed their support for Shen, faction leaders stressed yesterday that the final choice has not been made.

"We will clearly indicate our choice after the luncheon meeting on Monday," said senior Legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌), leader of the New Tide faction. "The rumor that we will jointly vote for Shen is not true.

"I must clarify that there are two conditions we have to consider before making the final choice. One is whether the Presidential Office has any preference and second, whether Ker or Shen can get at last three votes by themselves," he said.

Hong added that the Presidential Office has praised Ker's performance and encouraged him to run for another term.

Shen has frequently been at odds with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and once severely criticized the policy-making abilities of the Presidential Office over the past two years.

While Ker and Shen are fighting for the support of the same faction, caucus secretary general Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑) is likely to receive strong support from her "Mainstream Alliance" and other mavericks to help her keep her post.

Chief executive Wang Tuoh (王拓) is not seeking re-election.

Another candidate supported by the loosely formed "Mainstream Alliance" is Chiu Chuei-chen (邱垂貞), who can also count on the 14 votes of the Welfare State faction.

However, the "Mainstream Alliance" is hoping to get two whip posts, endangering the election prospects of both Hsu and Chiu.

Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who lost in his bid last year, is trying to gain support from the party's Justice Alliance faction, which controls around 27 votes, some of who voted against Chen last time.

To win the posts, a candidate needs the votes of 23 of the 88 lawmakers.

The New Tide faction and its allies control a combined 20 votes, while the Welfare State faction has around 14 members. The other 28 either belong to three smaller factions or are independents.

The lawmaker who gets the most votes usually becomes chief convener. The one who gets the second highest will become chief executive and the third secretary general. In the event of a tie the posts will be decided through negotiation.

To ensure that all members vote for designated candidates, most party factions ask their members to "unwittingly" show their votes before casting.

However, caucus discipline panel leader Wang Hsing-nan (王幸男) warned yesterday that anyone who violates the principle of secret voting will be sent to the party's Central Reviewing Committee and may be severely punished.

Opinions from the Presidential Office will be the last determining factor in the nominations this time because the whips will play an important role in Chen's re-election bid in 2004.

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