Reports of an internal feud between top Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and members of rival factions was denied yesterday by the party.
The latest edition of the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported that Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) had strongly criticized several top members for blaming her for the DPP’s losses in farmers’ association elections on Feb. 19.
The elections for 1,105 local farmers’ association posts saw the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) retain the majority of seats.
Some people have said those polls could be a bellwether for next year’s local government elections.
According to the magazine, Chen, a prominent member of the DPP’s former New Tide faction, criticized the party’s leadership for spreading rumors that she had supported a KMT candidate in the farmers’ elections in exchange for assistance for DPP Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) — a close aide of Chen — in next year’s mayoral elections.
DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) and DPP Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), who belong to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “faction,” were reported to be the prime targets of the criticism, the magazine said.
The incident has been interpreted as a sign of escalating tension between the two groups, as the Tsai faction appears poised to field candidates for the mayoral races in Kaohsiung and Tainan, which are New Tide’s strongholds.
Tsai invited top party members to a dinner on Monday last week to resolve the dispute, Next said.
Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), convener of the DPP’s electoral strategy committee and therefore responsible for directing the DPP’s campaign in the farmers’ association elections, yesterday said that Chen Chu’s tone was “excited” during the dinner, but she did not lose her composure.
She made some simple comments on the Feb. 19 elections and there was no argument or criticism involved, he said.
The dinner was successful, and “mutual understanding was reached between participants in terms of their different views [on the association elections] and the misunderstanding caused by the ‘passing on of messages,’” he said.
From the electoral strategy committee’s point of view, it was obvious that the party should secure a minimum amount of seats in each city and county in the association elections, but local governments did not want to antagonize association members or turn the elections into a bipartisan fight, Chen Ming-wen said.
“Although [the DPP] did not succeed in the association elections, it can restart from the failure,” he said. “We do not want the elections to cause disharmony in the party.”
“Everyone supports Tsai, and everyone belongs to the Tsai faction,” he said in response to the rumored confrontation between the Tsai faction and the New Tide.
The electoral strategy committee would be more careful about passing along messages as well the party’s internal “ecosystem” to maintain harmony, he said.
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