Sun, Jun 13, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Factions in DPP could be near end

PLAY TOGETHER After Chen Shui-bian's call for eliminating factions, a legislator plans to begin a formal push to ban them under the party's rules

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent call to eliminate Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) factional politics from governmental and party operations has prompted DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) to propose dissolving party factions and prohibiting faction activities. The proposal is widely believed to be targeted primarily at the DPP's most organized faction -- the New Tide Faction (新潮流派系).

Wang is slated to propose changes to party regulations at the DPP's July 18 National Congress meeting. The proposed changes would restrict party members from participating in factional activities and would provide penalties for failing to comply. All existing party factions would have to disband within three months of the passage of Wang's draft regulation.

The draft has won the endorsement of at least 57 DPP lawmakers from across factions, including New Tide Faction Legislators Chen Chin-chun (陳景峻), Julian Kuo (郭正亮) and Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) -- and has also gained the support of some 400 representatives to the party congress.

historical residue

Wang's proposal came in the wake of Chen's call last week for DPP government and party officials to cease participating in factional activities in order to maintain administrative neutrality and to rid the party of the entrenched factionalism it suffers from.

The new regulations would prohibit maintaining faction offices, holding faction meetings, recruiting members and charging membership fees. Party members who organized factional activities would be suspended from the party for two years, while those who participated in factional activities would face a one-year suspension. The regulations would also prohibit factions from operating as foundations or social groups.

New Tide Faction Legislator Julian Kuo, who supports the proposed regulations, said that factions were the historical residue of personal connections and were not based on the bonds of ideals. Kuo said that such organizations are harmful to the development of a modern political party.

"Most of the current factions only function to distribute party resources or influence internal party elections, which is very unhealthy for the party's development. The factions should be dissolved, and then new factions could be established based on shared beliefs," Kuo said.

Factionalism has long dominated the DPP's operations, particularly in the distribution of party resources and party positions -- including positions as chief of party departments and memberships in the Central Standing Committee, Central Executive Committee and Central Review Committee.

Even the heads of the DPP legislative caucuses have been chosen by factions. Factional domination of the legislature reached its peak in the 1995 legislative election -- as the three major caucus leader positions in the six legislative sessions spanning the entire three-year legislative term were allocated immediately after the election.

stumbling block

Wang said he couldn't deny that the proposed regulations are aimed at the New Tide Faction, as it is the most organized and active clique within the DPP.

Kuo said the New Tide Faction used to be a more democratic organization, but it has now become a group whose major decisions are dictated by faction leaders such as Legislator Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌), Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) and former secretary general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁).

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