Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu, Yu and Su to sit on top DPP committee

CORE BODY Chen Shui-bian has chosen the three people who are widely touted as future presidential hopefuls to sit on the party's Central Standing Committee

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday appointed three Demo-cratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights to the Central Stand-ing Committee (CSC), the party's core decision-making body.

The appointment of the three -- Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Premier Yu Shyi-kun and Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) -- was seen by many as an attempt to provide balance in the battle for power that is likely to erupt as Chen's term in office approaches completion.

Lu, Yu and Su are among the high-ranking DPP officials seen as possible successors to Chen, who also serves as DPP chairman.

The list also includes Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is an elected member of the CSC.

Fifteen DPP members serve on the CSC. Ten of them are elected from among the 30 members of the Central Executive Committee; three are appointed by the party chair-man; and the party's legislative caucus leader and party chairman fill the other two spots.

The appointments put the four people most widely seen as Chen's possible successors on an equal competitive footing, while at the same time consolidating the president's authority within the party and preventing it from being challenged sooner than he would like.

Lu's appointment to the CSC drew special attention as it marks the first time that she has been involved in the core operations of party power.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), a former CSC member, yesterday said that Lu's participation in the CSC could be a way to defuse high-profile issues of power transfer and to enhance the cohesiveness of the party, with legislative elections coming up at the end of the year.

Chang, who has been touted as Chen's preferred choice for legislative speaker should the pan-green camp win a majority in the December legislative polls, yesterday said his not serving on the CSC was aimed at "maintaining neutrality as legislative speaker."

Chang's comments were interpreted as an admission that he is planning to be legislative speaker.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said yesterday that the appointment of the three new CSC members was motivated by a desire for coherence between government and party operations and for balanced representation of male and female party officials in the the decision-making body.

According to party regulations, the party chairman designates one CSC member to preside over the CSC's weekly meetings if the chairman is absent.

As Chen is slated to travel abroad for state visits next month, Lee said yesterday that Chen's choice of substitute will be based on "administrative seniority," which would likely mean that Lu would take the responsibility for chairing the meetings.

However, it is uncertain how long Yu, Su and Lu will remain members of the CSC, as they are required to resign when Chen gives up his party chairmanship -- which he has said he will do in February.

According to party regulations, Chen will lose his power to designate CSC members once he is no longer chairman.

The three vacated spots on the CSC will be filled by the three leaders of the DPP legislative caucus.

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