Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) formally announced his candidacy yesterday as registration opened for the party chairmanship election.
Registration will close on Friday and the election is scheduled for May 18.
Chai yesterday said that he wanted to stand in the contest because he felt it was his unshirkable duty to do something for the party, which he said has been facing an unparalleled crisis since it lost the legislative election in January and the presidential election last month.
PHOTO: LU CHUN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES
“I promise, if given a chance, to do my very best to salvage the party and the lost trust of the people of Taiwan,” he said.
If elected, Chai said, he would make efforts to keep the 5.4 million people who voted for the DPP in the presidential election and hoped to obtain 1 million more to resume power.
Referring to the talk about generational change, the 73-year-old Chai said that he agreed with the notion of transferring power to the younger generation and that, if elected, he would propose to amend the party charter to establish one or two vice chairpersons.
“The party is in a dire situation, far worse than it was some 20 years ago during the dangwai [outside the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)] period,” Chai said. “I cannot solve all the party’s problems alone, so I am thinking of jointly leading the party with the vice chairpersons, who must not only have experience, but also have Taiwan-centered consciousness.”
Chai also addressed the much-criticized problem of “shell party members” or nominal party members who are members recruited by a faction boss or politician with a view to increasing their influence in the party.
Nominal members have little or no interest in the party themselves, but present a vote bank on which the politically ambitious can draw.
Chai said that he would like to see these members transform themselves from mere voting machines to individuals devoting themselves to community or charity work. To that end, he would propose to train “democracy volunteers” at the party’s Democracy Academy.
Chai also vowed to put the party’s platform into practice, in particular building a new republic.
Chai said vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) had pushed Taiwan into peril by attending the Boao Forum for Asia in China, as had president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by recognizing the so-called “1992 consensus,” in which the KMT said that Taipei and Beijing agreed that there is “one China” and each side has its own interpretation of its meaning.
Any negotiation with China would be meaningless if the negotiation was conducted under the framework of “one China,” Chai said, adding that the Ma administration should request that Beijing respect the existence of the Republic of China rather than ask it to relinquish its sovereignty.
If elected, Chai said, he would produce effective measures to counter Ma’s policies, but he did not elaborate what the measures would be.
While Chai said he would stand in the contest until the very end, he left room for negotiation. DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has said that he is not against using negotiations to find a new party leader and he would negotiate with interested parties.
The party would only have an election if the negotiations failed, he said.
Meanwhile, the DPP said yesterday that Yao Jen-to (姚人多), an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsinghua University, would serve as a special assistant to Hsieh, while Taipei City Councilwoman Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) would head the DPP’s Culture and Information Department.
The party said the two would offer their services free of charge.
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