Presidential Secretary General Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) formally announced his candidacy for the chairmanship of the governing Democratic Progressive Party yesterday in Taipei's Grand Hotel, where the DPP was established 19 years ago.
Yu, who is a former premier, remembered that he hosted the meeting of 132 people that reached an agreement to found the DPP in 1986. The top presidential aide continued that today he returned to the same venue to announce his bid for the DPP chair at a time when the DPP "is going through its toughest period since establishment," eluding to the humiliating loss in December 3 local government elections.
"As one of the founders of the DPP, I feel ashamed over the criticism aimed at the DPP government, especially as I have served in a number of positions over the past five years," Yu told gathered media at the Grand Hotel yesterday morning.
The DPP will hold an election to determine a new chairman on January 15, following the resignation of ex-chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) after he shouldered full responsibility for the December 3 by-election embarrassment. The winner will officially be announced January 18.
Declaring his bid for the race, Yu unveiled his opinion that the DPP must listen to people's views at all times, especially when they endeavor to lay out a vision for the country's future.
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."
While officially announcing his candidacy for the DPP's top post, Yu said the recent election results should serve as a wake-up call for the party.
"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.
All DPP members who are interested in running for the chairmanship must complete their registration forms by tomorrow, according to the rules promulgated by the party's central headquarters last week.