Wed, Apr 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai-Lai mediation is ongoing: Chen Chu

BAD IDEA?The former premier’s spokesman said that convening a party congress to block Lai’s bid for the presidential nomination would ‘severely hurt the DPP overall’

By Yang Chun-hui and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu, center, arrives at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Efforts to mediate between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) are ongoing and would not be abandoned, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday.

The comments came after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said on Monday that he was aware that “some people within the party” want to convene a party congress, which could veto any candidate produced via party primaries.

“The article would not be invoked casually and has, in fact, never been invoked since its drafting,” Cho said.

Pursuant to Article 10 of the party’s governmental office candidate nomination regulations, a primary-produced candidate can be vetoed by such a congress if a motion is signed by one-fifth of all congress members and the motion would be ratified by “yes” votes from at least three-fifths of attending congress members, who must number at least half of all congress members.

The party’s Central Executive Committee would then have to select another eligible candidate.

Cho’s comment has been interpreted by pundits as an implication that the party could invoke the article to block Lai, who on March 18 registered for the party’s presidential primary.

Tsai registered for the primary three days later, after having confirmed in February her intention to run for re-election.

Chen is among a team of DPP arbitrators set up by Cho to find common ground between Tsai and Lai.

Asked by radio host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) whether Lai is worried that Tsai and her supporters would resort to invoking Article 10, Lai’s spokesman Lin Sheng-che (林聖哲) yesterday said that if that were the case, “it would severely hurt the DPP overall.”

“We hope to pursue normal channels [stipulated by regulations governing a primary,]” Lin said.

The party congress is an existing institution, “but we hope congress representatives would discuss this issue rationally,” Lin said, adding that any deviation could antagonize the public.

Extant regulations are made so that no other ad hoc regulations need be made in extreme situations, Lin said, adding that it is up to the wisdom of congress members which path to choose.

Regarding calls within the party for Tsai and Lai to consider running as presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively, Lin said that Lai is waiting for the results of the primary before considering other options.

Pressed by Chou whether this meant that Lai would consider running with Tsai if he lost the primary, Lin that he is not Lai and cannot answer for him.

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