Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday turned over the party chairpersonship to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who will serve as acting chairperson until a party election is held in May.
The handover ceremony was held after a Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei yesterday afternoon.
Chen thanked Tsai for what she called her great contributions to the party and said the momentum Tsai had created toward party reform would not slow under her leadership.
Chen said she would soon form a party affairs reform task force to discuss the party’s organization, direction, reform and policies.
People would be welcome to air their opinions at the discussions, and she hoped ideas voiced in them could be used as a reference for the next party leader.
“‘Why do people want the DPP to govern the country?’ and ‘What are the core values of a DPP government?’ — Those are key questions I and all party members should ask ourselves,” Chen said.
The ultimate goal for the DPP is not to win the 2016 presidential election or any other election, but to keep its commitment to establishing a better Taiwan, Chen said. Being in charge of the government is a means to fulfill that commitment, she said.
She also promised that the May election for the chairperson would be fair and transparent.
Meanwhile, Tsai said at the ceremony: “Being unable to lead the party back to power is my biggest regret.”
As to why the party was defeated in the recent presidential election, Tsai said: “I will give the party feedback, in the hope that the party can expand its social base.”
On her own role in the party’s future, she said: “I will not forget my commitment to Taiwan’s society and I will continue to contribute to this land.”
“I know people want to know where I am going. Actually my thinking is very simple. The reason I could reach this place was because people gave me a chance, and I would like to repay people through such things as public welfare activities,” Tsai said.
Tsai said she turned down an offer by the party to host a farewell event for her because she wanted to keep the day low-key.
A crowd of party officials and staffers lined up on both sides of the DPP headquarters’ entrance to see Tsai off with flowers and farewells.
Tsai submitted her resignation to the party after losing the presidential election on Jan. 14, but later agreed to remain at her post until yesterday, to give time for an acting chairperson to be found to lead the party until an election could be held.
Tsai will set up an office on Changan E Road in Taipei.
Last night, Tsai treated DPP staffers and members to a screening of The Lady, a movie about Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.