Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was upbeat yesterday about the party’s future after filling almost all the key positions on his team 10 days into his two-year term.
“Our team is almost ready. We want to highlight consolidation in the party and reach out to collaborate with various social forces for the DPP to be a better party that meets people’s expectations,” Su said.
The DPP is obligated to be as powerful an opposition party as it can, particularly at a time when people are suffering from the government’s poor record, he added.
Su introduced the new department heads of the central party headquarters before chairing the Central Standing Committee meeting for the first time since winning the chairperson election on May 27.
Three former DPP lawmakers were named department directors, including Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) at the Department of Organizational Development, Chen Ying (陳瑩) at the Department of Women’s Development and Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) at the Department of the Internet.
Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), who served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during previous DPP administrations, was tapped as director of the Department of International Affairs.
Other key appointees included Huang Shiang-chun at the Department of Social Development, Chang Ching-hui (張慶惠) at the Department of Hakka Affairs, Mayaw Komod at the Department of Indigenous Affairs and Liao Chih-chien (廖志堅) at the Department of Culture and Communication.
The appointments wrapped up Su’s personnel search and reflected his campaign pledge to include members from all major factions to promote party unity.
Su named his long-time aide Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) as DPP secretary-general while also making former representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) executive director of the Policy Research Committee. Members from three different factions, including former Pingtung County legislator Lin Yu-shen (林育生), former Tainan County lawmaker Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) and former DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌), were named deputy secretary-generals.
The only position missing is the much-anticipated head of the China Affairs Committee, which has yet to be established.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who was reportedly interested in the job, told reporters after the meeting that Su has not brought up the issue with him.
Hsieh said DPP members are still divided over the party’s China policy and the best way to lay out a roadmap and party policy was a public debate.
The priority issue for the DPP is whether the party should engage with China, he said, adding that the last thing the DPP wants is to be excluded from all cross-strait talks, which is the case at present.
“[The exclusion] would make cross-strait talks the exclusive right of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and could subsequently sacrifice the rights and welfare of people with lower incomes — the core DPP supporters — with the DPP sitting on the sidelines without entering the game,” he said.
Su will waste no time in leading the DPP’s charge against the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration when he attends a party legislative caucus meeting tomorrow, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
Su would discuss the party’s strategy and plans for upcoming votes in the legislature next week, including amendments related to US beef imports and the capital gains tax, Lin said.