Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Chen criticizes DPP’s list of at-large nominees

QUESTION OF RANK:The former president said the preference shown to career politicians over ‘more qualified people’ was not a wise move

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should consider changing its legislator-at-large list for January’s legislative elections to avoid alienating supporters, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said in a statement from jail yesterday.

Joining the chorus of calls asking the party to reconsider the list of nominees it released on June 30, Chen said there was no reason why several professionals such as Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), a women’s equality advocate, were omitted from the top 16 “safe list” of a roster heavily populated by career politicians.

“The list is definitely not the best possible roster and should not be outshone by the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]. There is still time and opportunity to make slight changes,” wrote Chen, a former DPP chairman.

His comments could provide critics of the list, which include civic groups and lawmakers who were left off the roster, with ammunition to attack DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) picks.

The roster — and especially the top 16 of the 34 more “guaranteed spots” — is seen as symbolic of factionalism in the DPP.

Chen said Tsai appears to have fallen prey to such pressure, adding that appointing factional representatives and her own aides to top spots at the expense of “more qualified people” was not necessarily the wisest choice.

“Some of the candidates proposed by DPP factions are better suited to run in district elections and it would be a pity to see them avoid the [ballot box],” Chen wrote.

“And if Tsai is so sure of winning, why didn’t she place more of her close aides on the fringes of the list?” he said.

Chen’s remarks on the internal party power struggle follow a recent increase in the quantity of his writings, a move that has landed him in hot water with authorities at Taipei Prison.

Two of his articles were blocked and censored by prison authorities in the past two months, moves that Chen’s allies have called illegal and a violation of the constitutionally protected freedom of expression.

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