Major factions within the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said yesterday that they were perplexed as to why former DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) asked for registration forms for the party chairmanship by-election, which is scheduled to take place January 15.
Lin sent an aide to get the registration forms Saturday. Registration for the new chairman will run until tomorrow.
Lin published an open letter Friday during which he said that those who have served as president, vice president, premier or party chairman are not suitable to serve as the new chairman, and should any of those "old guards" come out, he would "dissuade them in all earnestness." He also said that the new party chairman should not run for Taipei or Kaohsiung mayor in 2006 or for president in 2008.
Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) of the New Tide faction said that Lin is not fit to run in this election if his criteria are to be followed and speculated that Lin was "obtaining the registration forms for someone else."
Lin has long been reported to be hoping to recruit others to run for party chairman, Lee said, adding that Lin is closely associated with the party and he is worried about the fate of the party after its unprecedented defeat in the December 3 local elections, speculating that Lin is "looking for someone to lead the party forward."
Legislator Gao Jyh-peng of the Justice Alliance said that he "had no idea" why Lin's aide took the registration forms.
Gao also said that Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), who stepped down from his post as secretary-general to the Presidential Office to announce his candidacy for party chairman Friday, is unlikely to bow out of the race because of Lin's opposition. Yu was a former premier.
Legislator Huang Wei-cher of the Justice Alliance also said that Lin's move does not mean that he will run himself, and that he "probably is not satisfied with anyone who has come out so far."
Meanwhile, pro-independence Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮), who was the first to register his candidacy, said he couldn't figure out why Lin would want registration forms with his understanding of the latter's character.
On whether Lin's move aims to embarrass Yu as reports have said, Chai would not give a direct answer.
Chai also challenged Yu to say clearly whether he will run for president in 2008.
Lin, who was at the party helm between 1998 and 2000, has faded from the political scene and has been engaged in working for a nuclear-free homeland since successfully stumped for Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the 2000 presidential election. He is highly respected within the party because of his image of integrity.