Human rights lawyer Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) yesterday stepped down as New Power Party (NPP) chairman to take responsibility for the departure of Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and an alleged conflict of interest case involving a former assistant of legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal.
Chiu, who assumed the chairmanship in March, said that for the past several months he had tried to help party members reach a consensus on how to safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty, keep the ruling party in check and secure the NPP’s autonomy.
“Unfortunately, Lim still left the party. It showed that my efforts were not enough to convince certain members or to ensure effective internal dialogue,” he said. “I deeply regret that and must take responsibility for it.”
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Although the party on Thursday finalized a decision to revoke Kawlo’s membership, which she is challenging, the incident has already tarnished the party’s image, he said.
“Since Kawlo was placed first on the party’s legislators-at-large list, the party must accept its responsibility,” he said, adding that the best way to do it was for him to shoulder the responsibility.
As a founding member of the NPP, he understands the importance of building a third force in Taiwan to counter the two major parties and solidify the nation’s democracy, he said.
“Unfortunately, due to my inadequacies, I was not able to lead the party to complete its mission,” he said.
Recent incidents within the NPP have led to doubts and disappointment among its supporters and members of the public, he said.
Hopefully, the new chairperson would find an effective way to resolve internal conflicts and help the party win in next year’s elections, he said.
Chiu added that he would continue to work for the NPP and, if necessary, stand for election in especially challenging constituencies.
He concluded the news conference by bowing and apologizing to supporters and the public, but did not answer media queries.
Asked when the party would elect a new chairperson and who would be the acting chairperson, NPP spokesman Lee Chao-li (李兆立) said the party’s decisionmaking committee would elect a new chairperson from its 15 members.
The 15 include caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), Taipei City Councilor Lin Liang-chun (林亮君) and NPP Kaohsiung chapter head Chen Hui-min (陳惠敏).
NPP Legislator and former chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) is not a committee member.
While Chiu had named Kawlo as one of the reasons he decided to resign, Lee said the Amis legislator is still an NPP member.
Kawlo has appealed the party’s decision to revoke her membership through internal as well as external channels, he said, adding that whether she is to be removed from the party will depend on how the appeals turn out.
Chiu’s stated reasons for resigning “do not seem like reasons,” Hung said after Chiu’s announcement.
She added that she would try to understand the real reason and hope that Chiu would stay as chairman until the end of the general elections.
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