Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Professors group calls for better DPP primary system

NO GOOD Criticizing the DPP for conducting negotiations behind closed doors, the TAUP said a democratic primary would be more acceptable to the party's supporters

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A pro-independence group requested yesterday that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) establish a democratic and scientific system for use in its presidential primary.

The Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) made the call yesterday ahead of today's DPP Central Standing Committee meeting, where the party is to adopt a proposed survey dictated by the Presidential Office.

Association chairman Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) told the committee to veto the plan and adopt their system instead.

"We are very disappointed with how the DPP selects its presidential candidates," he said. "They made the decision behind closed doors and the entire process was consumed by factional interests and resource allocation."

Tsay also called on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to refrain from appointing his successor and asked the DPP to establish a system that is democratic and free of factional infighting.

The DPP's proposal won the backing of Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), while Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun were kept in the dark.

Lu and Yu's supporters believe the design of the poll favors Su and Hsieh and plan to file a motion at today's meeting challenging the format. Opponents of the proposal stand a chance of turning the tide if the committee were to give the go-ahead for a party National Assembly.

Tsay yesterday asked the party to redesign the primary system so debates are mandatory and opinion polls scientific.

DPP regulations stipulate that the president and the vice president are selected by a party member vote and a public opinion poll. While the party member vote counts for 30 percent of a candidate's total score, the opinion poll contributes the remaining 70 percent.

The survey format suggested by the Presidential Office is designed to exclude voters who do not usually vote for the DPP in presidential elections, while surveying only pan-green and swing voters.

As the DPP has launched a signature drive to force a referendum on reclaiming the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets, Tsay proposed polling only signatories of the campaign, most of whom were likely to be DPP supporters.

The DPP must collect 900,000 signatures to make the petition valid, but has only gathered 80,000 so far.

If it cannot reach the target, Tsay said he would mobilize his members and DPP supporters to abstain from the legislative and presidential elections.

"Before we vote them into the legislature and the Presidential Office, they must make themselves useful and do something for us," he said. "We refuse to be their pawns. We are supporters of Taiwan, not of the DPP. We cannot guarantee the DPP's victory, but we can ensure their defeat."

Tu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), vice chairman of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said the DPP's primary system was flawed.

The DPP must overcome the problem of figurehead voters in the 30 percent party member vote and replace the design of the 70 percent opinion polls with a more scientific format, he said.

Tu proposed putting questions in the survey to filter out "fake" DPP supporters and divide the results into five segments of the political spectrum: dark blue, light blue, neutral, light green and dark green.

The percentages each candidate received in the five portions would then be multiplied using different weighted values. The candidate who received the highest score would be the winner.

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