Democratic Progressive Party Chairman-elect Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday that he hopes to take over as DPP chairman before January 29 instead of February 8.
Yu, who won the DPP chairmanship in a by-election Sunday with 54.1 percent of nearly 46,700 valid votes by eligible party members, said during an interview with a radio station that party rules mandate that a new chairman should take office within two weeks of being elected.
The DPP headquarters released a statement yesterday which said that DPP Interim Chairwoman Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said the handover could take place at any time. This contradicts her earlier insistence Sunday morning, when speaking to television reporters, that her term in office would end on February 8.
Lu then said Sunday evening, during a press conference at the DPP announcing Yu's victory, that "the transfer could take place at any time," depending on Yu's preference.
The DPP statement stated that if the standard of two weeks was used, the date of transfer would be January 29, the first day of the Lunar New Year, which would be "difficult to arrange."
DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) told The Taiwan News that the Central Standing Committee had originally recommended that the transfer of office between the interim and incoming chairpersons could take place February 8, the date of the first CSC meeting after the holiday.
However, Lee noted that the original recommendation was based on the assumption that the by-election would take place January 22, in which case the two week deadline would have fallen in the Lunar New Year.
Lu had told reporters January 12 that she approved of the February 8 date as it would provide time for the new chairperson to decide personnel and other arrangements and allow serving party officials to enjoy their holiday without having to worry about finding new employment.
During the interview, Yu stated that party regulations mandated that the transfer of authority take place within two weeks of an election.
The chairman-elect also stated that the "CSC resolution" which Lu had cited as a rationale for the February 8 date was in fact only a "recommendation," not a formal resolution.
A spokesman for the chairman-elect told The Taiwan News that Yu was firm that "the changeover must take place before the Lunar New Year as based on the party regulations."
"We will hold consultations on this issue with the DPP headquarters," stated the spokesman, who also related that Yu had not yet begun to seriously consider personnel changes at the DPP headquarters.
Lee said that the DPP headquarters "has no opinion" on the date of transfer and said the question should be settled by consultation between the interim chairwoman and the chairman-elect.
"We will be pleased to cooperate with their decision," Lee added.
Positive election process
The DPP secretary-general also told the Taiwan News that the reaction to the election process and result in society had been "generally positive."
"We carried out this election without negative campaigning and personal attacks and without leaving in the wake severe divisions in the party, in contrast to the Kuomintang chairmanship election" between Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
"The main shortcoming was the relative poor turnout of about 20 percent of the eligible members," acknowledged Lee.
The DPP secretary-general said the low figure was not entirely negative as it reflected in part the success of moves mandated by the Central Standing Committee to curb "factional mobilization" of "proxy members," but also reflected low morale in the wake of the setback suffered by the DPP in local elections December 3.