Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP sets rules for picking chair

COMPETITION The party announced that a new chairman will be chosen on Jan. 30, and laid out detailed guidelines for how Chen Shui-bian's successor will be selected

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced that party members will elect a new chairman on Jan. 30, and that those who plan to contend for the chairmanship will have to pay NT$1.5 million as a registration fee.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stepped down from the post of DPP chairman last Tuesday to take responsibility for the pan-green camp's failure to win a legislative majority.

DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) is serving as acting chairman until a new chairman is elected.

After nearly three hours' discussion, the DPP central executive committee yesterday reached a conclusion about the necessary qualifications of the candidates who want to campaign for the chairman's post.

According to DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), people who want to join in the chairmanship election to be held on Jan. 30 have to have been DPP party members for at least one year and must pay a non-refundable NT$1.5 million registration fee.

The committee overruled the suggestion that candidates should have to collect a certain number of signatures from party delegates.

"The DPP aimed to set less restrictions on candidates in order to obtain maximum participation in the election for chairmanship," Lee said yesterday.

The DPP today will publish the registration date, election date and candidates' requirements. Those who want to join the campaign have to register between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31.

The committee will review the candidates' qualifications on Jan. 4 and eligible candidates will draw their candidate number on Jan. 5.

The DPP will announce its new chairman on Feb. 1.

Before polling day, the DPP will hold two televised debates, on Jan. 22 in Taipei and Jan. 29 in Kaohsiung. A civic forum for academics, political commentators and the public will be held in Taichung on Jan. 26, Lee said.

So far, only DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) and DPP Central Standing Committee member Chou Ching-yu (周清玉), who failed in her legislative re-election bid, have said that they will campaign for the chairman's post.

"I believe that I will do a good job in leading the party," Lin said after the central executive committee meeting, confirming that he would compete for the chairmanship despite the registration fee.

Chou did not comment on the registration fee issue, only saying that she would consider participating in the race.

Meanwhile, the central executive committee decided to establish a special panel to study the party's future development, hoping to find a new direction for the DPP now that Chen has resigned as chairman.

When asked about the nomination of Control Yuan members, Lee said that the DPP had not considered using party discipline to force DPP legislators to support the nominations at this point, although some DPP legislators voiced criticism about some of the nominations.

"The DPP ... will first communicate and negotiate with those who opposed [the nominations]. We haven't thought about party discipline," Lee said.

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