Structure of DPP campaign team slowly emerges

RE-ELECTION BID: Ruling party officials are still tight-lipped despite widespread speculation over who will be given pivotal strategy roles

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 3

As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gets ready to nominate President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as its candidate for the March presidential election on Dec. 10, party heavyweights are ready to put their campaign stra-tegy into motion.

A report in the Liberty Times yesterday speculated that Taipei County Commissioner Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌), one of the party's most popular officials, would lead the campaign, while DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and Premier Yu Shyi-kun are expected to take up pivotal roles.

Although Chang yesterday declined to comment on the structure of the campaign team, he said cooperation among the Presidential Office, the Cabinet and party headquarters has been harmonious.

"The Presidential Office, the Cabinet and party headquarters have always been smooth in liaising with each other. It has been a long-term tacit understanding [among the three bodies] and no one would clash with one another. There has been good teamwork," Chang said.

Chang said 2,000 groups nationwide will be set up to help Chen's re-election bid and Chen will decide whether Su is appointed to head the campaign team.

The president is expected to announce his running-mate on Dec. 13. The major positions on the campaign team are expected to be decided after that date.

"We can't confirm yet whether Su will be the director-general of the campaign team, as it should be decided solely by the presi-dent," Chang said.

Meanwhile, he stressed the party will demand that DPP administration officials strictly follow administrative impartiality during the campaign.

"President Chen has mentioned many times that party officials who have administrative duties should stand by the principle of administrative neutrality. For example, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) has been asked not to participate in campaign activities," Chang said.

"Other executive agencies such as the defense ministry and the Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen will be advised not to do so," he said.

Meanwhile, amid the increasing use of negative propaganda by both the DPP and the pan-blue alliance, Chang demanded yesterday that all DPP officials make only accusations based on facts.

DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) recently alleged that People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) had an extramarital affair with his former secretary, Yang Yun-tai (楊雲黛) -- an accusation PFP lawmakers said was groundless.

Chang said the party was concerned about the veracity of any public remarks by DPP officials, who should be careful that their charges are based on facts.

"The DPP will not adopt negative propaganda during the 2004 presidential election [campaign]," Chang said.