Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Deputy Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) has cleared out his office at party headquarters, in a sign that infighting may have escalated over the party’s nomination for the year-end Tainan County commissioner election.The problem was DPP faction infighting -- Chen Chi-mai appears to have belonged to the wrong faction. The New Tide faction apparently put forward their man, Lee Chun-yi, for the Tainan County Chief election. Mark Chen, the former Foreign Minister, thought to be close to former President Chen Shui-bian, objected to what he saw as factional moves, and announced he would run on his own, effectively splitting the DPP vote and giving the KMT a huge opportunity in the upcoming elections. Why is the DPP smaller than the KMT? Because too many DPP politicians think they are bigger than the party.
The DPP had formally banned factions back in 2006, but the New Tide faction, in the doghouse under Chen Shui-bian, is dominant now that Chen Shui-bian is behind bars. The report noted:
Factions have long played a role within the DPP, particularly in the distribution of party resources and positions, including the heads of party departments and membership in the Central Standing Committee and other bodies.The Tainan County Chief position caused another rift last week when a DPP legislator was accused in the local media of striking a deal for Chen Shui-bian's backing for the position, sparking angry denials and accusations of betrayal.
The New Tide faction was seen as the DPP’s most organized faction, but in July 2006 the party passed a resolution dissolving all factions as part of reform efforts.
Nevertheless, the previous factional affiliations of party members are thought to have a lingering role in the party’s internal politics.
The DPP last Wednesday chose DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) to run for Tainan County commissioner.
One of Lee’s rivals for the nomination, former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山), said he had been left out because of party infighting. He announced he would run in the election in defiance of factional forces.
Some party members have speculated that Mark Chen’s bid for the nomination was blocked by former members of the New Tide faction in favor of Lee.
Local media reported that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) intended to choose Yeh as the party’s candidate for the year-end Tainan County commissioner race, but changed her mind because Yeh earlier this week visited Chen in the Taipei Detention Center and allegedly reached an agreement with him that in exchange for his support for her campaign, Yeh would support a bid by Chen to replace her in the legislature.The China Post reported that Yeh had said that Chen Shui-bian condemned Democratic Progressive Party secretary-general Wu Nai-jen:
“I was set up by the party and the party sullied my reputation,” Yeh told reporters yesterday.
Yeh said she visited Chen because Tsai and DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), whom the party announced on Wednesday as its candidate for Tainan County commissioner, asked her to do so.
“They wanted me to ask Chen to persuade former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山) to withdraw from the race [for Tainan County commissioner],” Yeh said, adding that she had not struck any “exchange agreement” with Chen Shui-bian.
Chen in detention charged Wu with “keeping close financial connections” with Kuo Chuan-ching, former chairman of Rich construction company.The silver lining of Chen Shui-bian's detention is that it limits the damage he can do to the DPP. Really, detaining him was about the dumbest thing the KMT could have done.
A former DPP lawmaker Yen Wen-chang, who visited President Chen at the Taipei detention center, quoted him as describing the magistracy election in Taiwan as “the epicenter” of a disastrous earthquake for the opposition party.
Kuo was indicted last year for bribery on attempting to land a contract to build the Exhibition Hall in Nankang. He was charged with bribing former first lady Wu Shu-chen to get the name list of the screening panel for the construction of the Nankang hall.
Wu is believed to have orchestrated the nomination of Lee Chun-yi for magistrate of Tainan, though Mark Chen, supported by President Chen, led in grass polls and primaries as the likeliest winner of the election, scheduled for the end of this year.
Let's see... KMT president under 30% approval? Check. Economy in the dumps? Check. Populace disgusted with the performance of the ruling party and perhaps ready to embrace some change? Check.
Good thing the DPP's not squandering this priceless opportunity on factional infighting.... Hopefully the party will get things turned around and on track for the election later this year.
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