Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Michael Tsai quits DPP over delay of primary

By Peng Wan-Hsing and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan United Nations Alliance chairman Michael Tsai speaks at a forum in Taipei on Tuesday last week.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taiwan United Nations Alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) yesterday said he has renounced his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) membership to protest the party’s decision to delay its presidential primary.

Tsai made the remarks in a written statement two days after the DPP Central Executive Committee pushed the date back to May 22.

The party’s initial schedule was for a five-member team to mediate between primary participants President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) by yesterday, and that if mediation had failed, Tsai Ing-wen and Lai would have presented their views to the public today and tomorrow. Surveys would have been conducted over the following three days before the party headquarters was to announce its candidate on April 24.

The rescheduling places the primary after the party is to nominate its legislative candidates, which some say would stack the deck in Tsai Ing-wen’s favor.

Michael Tsai, a former minister of national defense, urged the DPP leadership to respect the institution of the primary.

“The belief in fair, rules-based competition had always been part of the DPP’s core values,” he said.

However, the administration’s ineffectual implementation of transitional justice and judicial reform has resulted in “alienation and anxiety” among Taiwanese, to which the party leadership has become “indifferent,” he said.

Since Tsai Ing-wen led the DPP’s return to office in 2016, she has refused to respond to his advice regarding the promotion of a “Taiwanese nationalism,” regaining membership at the UN or bolstering the national defenses by employing partial conscription, Michael Tsai said.

“The pursuit of short-term political interests by its internal factions has consumed the party,” he said. “As a party member, I no longer have any power to advise it and therefore must register my deep pain and sorrow by leaving.”

“I am proud to have been a DPP member and to have fought the good fight for Taiwanese, but now I have to depart from the party that I grew up with,” Michael Tsai said. “I will be contributing what little power I have to my fatherland Taiwan from another place.”

“The DPP has my blessings and I sincerely hope it ... recovers its strength,” he said.

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