The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reaffirmed its endorsement of Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu’s (陳菊) integrity amid allegations of gangster influence — reputedly brought in by Chen and her party faction — on party elections.
“The DPP recognizes Chen’s lifelong dedication to Taiwan’s democratic movement and believes that Chen would not tolerate — nor does she need — gangsters influencing party elections. We fully stand by her,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said after the weekly Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting.
Lin’s comment was made in response to an allegation by Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤), one of 30 Central Executive Committee (CEC) members elected on Sunday in Taipei, who said local gangsters in the south were brought in to influence the elections for the CEC and the CSC, which consists of 10 members selected from the 30 CEC members.
Hung made the allegations on his Facebook page on Monday, saying that gangsters, Chen and members of Chen’s faction met to discuss the faction’s strategy and nominations at a Taipei hotel on the eve of the elections.
Hung said on Tuesday that he would file an official report and submit evidence by mail to the DPP’s central headquarters to back up his claim.
The DPP had not received Hung’s report as of yesterday afternoon, Lin said, adding that the party encourages party members to “whistleblow via the established party mechanism, rather than Facebook messages or press conferences.”
An internal investigation would be launched upon receiving Hung’s report, Lin said, but DPP Chairperson Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had talked to Chen and had a deep understanding of the case, which was why the party had endorsed her.
Hung, who was once in Chen’s faction and worked under her at the Kaohsiung City Government before his eventual alienation from the faction, has so far accused two members of Chen’s faction of wrongdoing.
He called for Greater Kaohsiung-based Lee Ching-fu (李清福), one of 10 elected CSC members, to resign from his new post because he was sentenced to six years in prison in his second trial for taking bribes when he served as chief of Ciaotou Township (橋頭) from 1994 to 1998.
Hung made a fresh accusation yesterday against Chao Wen-nan (趙文男), Director-General of the Kaohsiung City Government’s Military Service Bureau, saying that Chao, who was in charge of election affairs for Chen’s faction, had played an important role in gangster interference in the party elections, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported.
The swirling controversy was a reflection of DPP factions’ brutal and complex competition — externally and internally — in the biennial CSC and CEC elections, the traditional battleground for party power, the paper said.
In this case, Chen Chu had planned to place Lee Ching-fu, Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), Hung Ping-lang (洪平朗) and Deputy Kaohsiung Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) in the CEC and Liu and Yu in the CSC, it said.
However, Lee expressed an interest in running for a CSC seat and refused to support Yu, forcing Yu to drop out of the race. To Chen’s surprise, Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), who was hastily brought in to fill in Yu’s spot, won a CEC seat, but Liu lost by one vote, the paper said.
Chiu went on to announce resignation. Under DPP regulations, Liu will fill in as Chiu’s replacement.