Thu, Mar 27, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Post-Election 2008: Hsieh resigns as chairman of the DPP

UNDERTAKING REFORM Frank Hsieh urged DPP members to realize the party is about to become an opposition that `has nothing at all' and to undertake aggressive reforms

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Party staff dismantle the press center around DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh after he read his resignation letter as chairman of the party in Taipei yesterday.


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) resigned as party chairman yesterday, pending the approval of the party's Central Executive Committee, which is to call a meeting today to discuss the matter.

Another meeting will also be called to examine the party's recent election defeats. Recommendations will be presented to a provisional National Congress, the date of which will be decided by the Central Executive Committee today.

Also on the National Congress' agenda is amending the party charter and election rules for party officials.

DPP Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) told reporters after yesterday's Central Standing Committee meeting that committee members resolved to ask Hsieh to assist the party with its soul-searching and reform program until a new party leader is elected on May 25.

Lee refused to describe the resolution as an attempt to ask Hsieh to stay, saying Hsieh had made it clear that he would not stand in the party chairman election or any race for public office.

Lee said he did not know whether Hsieh would accept the committee's request, but one thing was clear: Hsieh would not accept the offer "if its sole purpose was to get him to stay."

The committee's request came in response to a petition initiated by DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).

Hsieh's resignation came on the heels of the DPP's defeat in Saturday's election. It is customary in 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.

Saying the party must fully examine its three recent election losses, Hsieh yesterday proposed during the Central Standing Committee meeting that first, the party must assess its position and realize that it is about to become an opposition that "has nothing at all."

"The people do not have the obligation to support the DPP," he said. "If we do not implement a thorough reform, it is possible that we will dissolve in the near future."

Secondly, Hsieh said that the party must solicit more young members and let them participate in the party's reform program and decision-making process.

Thirdly, Hsieh proposed holding a temporary National Congress meeting to let party representatives voice their opinions and discuss the party's future and its course. The party should amend its charter and election rules so younger members can elect the next leader in May, he said.

Finally, Hsieh urged the party to serve as a check on the power of the ruling party, but they should help the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) implement good policies, he said.

He also called on president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make good on his promise to delve into political murders committed during the KMT era, including the murders of former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung's family (林義雄) and Carnegie Mellon University professor Chen Wen-chen (陳文成).

Meanwhile, Hsieh and Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) yesterday dismissed the allegation that they had tried to force Chen out of office before the election to boost Hsieh's election bid.

Hsieh said he did not meet former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) before Saturday's election or negotiate any deal with him. Yeh said Hsieh knew nothing about the matter.

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