Wed, Mar 26, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Post-Election 2008: DPP to elect new chairman on May 25

VACANCY Annette Lu said she would not be available to replace Frank Hsieh, while the premier urged the party to hand over the reins to its younger members

By Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Outgoing Vice President Annette Lu is flanked by Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician Kuo Cheng-deng, left, and Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan at DPP headquarters in Taipei yesterday in a ceremony to welcome 157 new members to the party.

PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is scheduled to elect a new party chief on May 25, following the resignation of Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is expected to step down as chairman today.

The DPP's Central Standing Committee will meet today to elect an acting chair to fill the vacancy until May 25.

Hsieh spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said on Monday that Hsieh would keep the promises he made before and after the election.

Shortly after his loss in the presidential election on Saturday night, Hsieh told reporters that he would "keep every promise" he had made in the run-up to the election.

Hsieh had vowed to quit politics if he lost the presidential election. It is also customary at the DPP for the party chairman to bear responsibility for an election loss by resigning.

Hsieh succeeded President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as party chairman following the DPP's losses in the legislative elections in January.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday dismissed media speculation that she was a possible replacement for Hsieh.

"You don't need to guess whether I will contest the race, because I won't," she said. "I won't be a member of the Central Standing Committee once I leave office."

Lu made the remarks while officiating at the inauguration of 157 new DPP members at party headquarters yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday's Chinese-language China Times insinuated that the ceremony, which had been initiated by Lu, was her attempt to drum up support for a chairmanship bid.

But Lu said that the event had originally been scheduled to take place before Feb. 28, but was postponed because of the election.

Describing the DPP as "the eldest grandson of Taiwan's democracy," Lu said the 22-year-old party was sick and needed to see a doctor, take medicine and regain its health.

"We must take a good look at ourselves and get back on our feet again," she said. "We don't have time to feel sorry or lose heart."

Lu proposed the establishment of a taskforce to reform party affairs and amend certain internal rules in response to the new situation.

She also asked the public to give the DPP time to do some soul searching and select a new leader, and urged the media to refrain from selecting a chairman for the party.

"I hope the new chairman is creative, makes a breakthrough in party affairs and responds to the new challenges," she said.

Meanwhile, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said yesterday that, after Saturday's election loss, he and the president spent two hours discussing the result.

Chang said he told Chen that whether the party would be able to recover depended on whether senior party members were willing to hand over power to the party's younger generation.

The premier made the comment during a question-and-answer session with KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華).

Chang said Ma's margin of victory had come as a surprise, but added that the DPP, including "everyone who has participated in government over the past eight years," should humbly accept the result.

He said he also told the president that he would not run for the party chairmanship.

Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) suggested that the party's leadership be handed over to the "student movement generation," referring to the Young Turks who participated in Taiwan's student movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

"It's time for a change of generations," Su said, as the Formosa generation "were knocked off their pedestals by the Taiwanese people" in Saturday's election.

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