The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Thursday expelled former legislator and founding member Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) from the party, one week after he registered to run for Taoyuan mayor in November’s local elections.
The decision to strip Cheng, who served as a legislator from 1996 to 2002 and again from 2016 to 2020, of his party membership was made unanimously by the DPP’s Central Review Committee, DPP Legislator and committee member Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Lai said Cheng’s bid to run in Taoyuan, where the DPP has already nominated a candidate, violated party rules.
Photo: Chen Yun, Taipei Times
Cheng registered to run for Taoyuan mayor at the city’s election commission on Thursday last week, saying at the time that he would run an “independent” election campaign.
The DPP is a political party that values unity and discipline and therefore it would “never accept” a member running for public office against the will of the party, Lai said.
The committee also expelled 25 members who are running as city councilors in the six special municipalities despite not being nominated by the party, he said.
Cheng, 67, said that his expulsion showed that the DPP has “turned its back on” the values to which it once subscribed, including democracy, freedom, the rule of law and human rights.
Stressing that he “loves the DPP and loves Taoyuan,” Cheng implicitly criticized President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who concurrently serves as DPP chairperson, for picking her preferred candidates for the local government elections scheduled for Nov. 26.
The nomination process is full of “closed-door negotiations” and backroom deals, he said without elaborating.
Cheng added that he would not back down in the face of “an unjust regime” and push forward with his campaign.
Cheng’s expulsion marked the latest episode in the ruling party’s turbulent bid to hang onto power in Taoyuan, where Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) has headed the city government for the past eight years, but is restricted by term limits from running again.
The party’s candidate for the Taoyuan mayoral election is Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬), who was first elected as a legislator in 2005 and has served in the same role since 2016.
The 49-year-old legislator was selected by the party to run in the city in the middle of last month after former Hsinchu mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅), the DPP’s original pick for the mayoral race, withdrew from the election due to a plagiarism scandal.
Commenting on the latest incident, Cheng Wen-tsan told reporters on Thursday that he respected it when someone chose “a different path,” but said the DDP is a team in which every member must work according to common values and convictions.
As for the DPP’s bid in the Taoyuan mayoral election, the mayor expressed “confidence” in Cheng Yun-peng, who he said had ratcheted up support after starting his election campaign, citing the most recent polls.
Cheng Wen-tsan, who has been rallying support for Cheng Yun-peng to compete with Simon Chang (張善政) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), said he believed DPP members and voters in the city would make a “wise choice.”
Taoyuan City Councilor Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍) said that Cheng Pao-ching’s entry into the Taoyuan mayoral race would not undermine Cheng Yun-peng’s election campaign, but rather further unite DPP supporters by encouraging them to back the party’s official candidate.
Cheng Pao-ching would only appeal to those who hate the DPP and thus win over votes that would have gone to the KMT or TPP candidates, Yang said.
Also on Thursday, the KMT expelled eight members who had registered to run without the party’s nomination, including Miaoli County Council Speaker Chung Tung-chin (鍾東錦), who is running for county commissioner.
Hualien Mayor Wei Chia-hsien (魏嘉賢) had his KMT membership revoked for registering to run for Hualien County councilor, the party said.
The KMT said that those whose membership is revoked cannot rejoin the party for three years, while those who are expelled cannot do so for six years.
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