Monday, December 19, 2005

Yu announces DPP chairmanship bid

Presidential Secretary General Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) formally announced his candidacy for the chairmanship of the governing Democratic Progressive Party the other day. I like Yu, but wanted to see someone younger. In any case the announcement was notable for a couple of things:

"The DPP did poorly in the recent elections. This means that the people decided to teach the party a lesson so that it learns to be introspective and humble. This is undoubtedly the DPP's most difficult time," Yu said.

"The opposition has made considerable progress. Therefore, the DPP will have to accelerate reforms. I don't talk much, but I keep my word. I will prove that I can win back the people's trust and respect with concrete actions," Yu added.

If elected, Yu vowed that he would lead the party in expediting internal reforms and "win back the trust and esteem of people, and to write history again with ideals."

Yu submitted his resignation as presidential secretary general on Thursday, when he first confirmed his intention to run for DPP chair. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has yet approved Yu's resignation. Yu had also quit his position as a DPP Central Standing Committee member on the same day in order to run for the race as an ordinary DPP partisan.

Yu was not, however, the only candidate in the running for the DPP chair. On Friday, DPP Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) collected his registration form and former DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) also asked his aide to collect a form Saturday, although the aid declined to comment whether the form was in fact for Lin or a candidate which Lin intended top champion.

The 64-year-old Lin issued an open letter on Friday to expound to "all DPP members" his ideas about the competition for the chairmanship. Seen by most people as a respectable DPP heavyweight, Lin contended in his letter that neither incumbent ranking government officials nor those intending to run in the 2008 presidential election should run for the chairmanship.

In accordance with Lin's criterion, since Yu had already tendered his resignation as presidential aide, opponent Chai and reporters asked yesterday whether he was intending to run in the 2008 presidential election.

"No DPP member should talk about the 2008 presidential race at this juncture," Yu responded, after unveiling his view that the party must work hard to regain voters' trust and support (emphasis mine).

Lin I-hsiung is a great old member of the DPP, widely respected. It is good that some of the top people realize that the Chairmanship can't be used as a stepping stone for the presidency. What's really needed is a professional electioneer who can coordinate the next two campaigns. Perhaps they can hire someone for the Vice Chairman position.

Yu's acceptance of "being taught a lesson" is a touching and culturally appropriate display of contrition, but note that he is prepared to argue that point.

He argued that the DPP government had not really failed in delivering its promises over the past five years and began his campaign with the slogan of "selflessness, inflexibility and dependability," reflecting his opinion that "the DPP must fulfill more, since it has made many pledges."

The Blues' obstructionism is the fundamental reason Taiwan is not being governed properly -- which is not to deny the DPP's flatpeter reactions to many of its problems -- and the DPP must focus on that message, and hammer away at the pro-China parties whenever it gets the chance.

UPDATE: I wanted to add that I suspect the reason Su quit is so that he could run for President in '08. The whole resignation thing was just a bit of sleight of hand to get him out of the post.

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