Sat, Mar 10, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Yu's choice of Chai provokes criticism

`SECRET DEAL' Some DPP members questioned Chai Trong-rong's appointment as acting chairman, while the vice president said she thought he would do a good job

By Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun's appointment of DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) to take over as acting chairman while he prepares for the party's presidential primary has aroused rumblings within the party as several members criticized his failure to first seek the consent of ranking party officials.

The party formally announced that Yu had appointed Chai as acting chairman while he is on the leave for the election around midnight on Wednesday.

The party did not make the announcement right after the party's Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting earlier that day, nor was the appointment included in the meeting's agenda, prompting speculation of an under-the-table deal between the two.

When approached by reporters yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), a committee member and a DPP presidential hopeful, said the party had a democratic mechanism and the matter should be discussed in the CSC meeting next week.

"I'm sure no one would dare violate [the democratic mechanism]," he said.

"I think everyone should deal with the matter properly. The DPP has its own mechanism and Chairman Yu will handle the procedure well," he added.

Based on the party's rules, when the chairman's post becomes vacant and there is less than one year remaining in the term, the new chairman should be elected from the party's Central Executive Committee members. If there is more than a year remaining in the term, a general election should be held.

In case the party chairman asks for leave, the secretary-general will take charge of party affairs and carry out the decisions handed down by the Central Standing Committee and the Central Executive Committee.

Criticizing Chai's appointment, DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) told a press conference that it was "inappropriate" for Chai to serve as acting chairman because Chai was also joining the party's legislative primary.

He urged Chai to resign as acting chairman, as this would have a "negative influence on the party's image.

Cheng added that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who registered on Thursday for the KMT's chairmanship by-election on April 7, set a good example because she also announced then that she would not join the KMT's legislative primary at the same time.

Former DPP Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) stormed in and out of the legislature yesterday morning, branding Chai's appointment a "shameful" act and urged the "DPP headquarters to stop conniving with Chai."

Chai, however, denied that he had reached any secret deal with Yu, adding that he did not learn of the appointment until early yesterday morning.

"Some people may favor me as the acting chairman while some may not. Whether or not I'm suitable is an issue that can be discussed," he said.

"But I am willing to take the challenge. I did not seek the position, but I will not chicken out now that I have been chosen," he added.

In response to party members' criticism, DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said it is customary for the party's chairman to appoint an acting chairman when the chairman is away.

Lin said there was nothing improper in selecting Chai for the post because Chai is a senior party member who understands party affairs.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) echoed this sentiment, saying there was nothing wrong in appointing Chai.

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