Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has issued an open invitation to former members who quit the party in recent years to rejoin.
“Please come back and rejoin the DPP. Return to this big family of ours,” said Su, currently on a nationwide tour to meet and pay his respects to members who have been with the party for more than 20 years, which coincides with the party’s 26th anniversary commemoration activities.
Over the years, many paying members and supporters of the DPP have left because of disagreements over policy and alienation from the party.
Significant numbers left the party as the DPP became more focused on electioneering and was perceived to have “lost touch with its grassroots,” while also sustaining rifts with social movement and activist groups.
Others were upset over changes made to the party’s election nomination process, whereby direct balloting by party members was replaced by interparty polls. Many felt they had lost their say in nominating candidates, despite being registered DPP members.
Su said it remained a priority to find former members and welcome them back to the fold.
Su added that on a recent visit to Greater Tainan, some elderly party members spoke emotionally about the party.
“At a recent commemoration event, one very senior party member came to shake my hand. He was trembling and then openly wept. He was overcome by emotion,” Su said.
Paying respect to the veteran members, Su gave golden badges to those with more than 25 years of party membership and silver badges to those with 20 years party affiliation.
According to party executives, when the DPP was in power it reached a high of more than 500,000 members nationwide, with a major push made to boost grassroots membership and increased membership from among the civil service.
Membership has sharply declined over recent years. Some of this is due to changes in the nomination process where party members lost their voting rights as well as growing dissatisfaction with the party and with many former supporters having quit.
Some individuals who have not paid annual membership dues for more than two years are deemed to have “lost contact” with the party.