Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday urged incoming Democratic Progressive Party chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) to persuade former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) to stay in the governing party and not "disappoint the people."
Former presidential secretary-general Yu will be sworn in as DPP chairman this afternoon in a ceremony that will be attended by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Lu and other political dignitaries.
Yesterday's meeting began with the swearing in of new Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Presidential Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) as ex-officio members of the Central Standing Committee.
Moreover, in the scheduled CSC before the inauguration of Yu as new party chairman, Lu used her status as interim chairwoman to propose a motion passed by the CSC to ask Yu to represent all CSC members to ask Lin not to withdraw from the 19-year-old party.
In a statement made to reporters after the meeting, Lu stated that Lin "had made incomparable sacrifices for Taiwan's democracy and contributions to the DPP."
Lu cited Lin's leadership role as chairman in the "historic" March 2000 victory of the DPP presidential and vice presidential ticket of President Chen Shui-bian and herself that marked Taiwan's first peaceful transfer of power from authoritarianism.
Citing Lin's retirement from the chairmanship after the victory, Lu praised Lin's "august and selfless character" and "thought provoking" statements on current national affairs.
The vice president said that Lin "could not remain silent" in the wake of the DPP's severe setback in local elections December 3 and related that his several open letters critical of the DPP government and party "arose from a heart of deep concern."
Lu stated that Lin was the third DPP chairman "to use the method of leaving the party to manifest despair and dissatisfaction" in the wake of Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) in mid-1999 and Shih Ming-teh (施明德) in mid 2000.
The acting chairwoman said that the DPP had to consider "where it is going" and "how to effectively upgrade the DPP's discipline, virtue and soul" and expressed the hope that "the chairman elected in the by-election and all party comrades can take up the heavy burden and not disappoint the people."
Lu, who vowed to continue to promote party reform as an ex-officio CSC member, also stated her "deep concern" over four major challenges faced by the party and observed that Yu had a "difficult road to travel" and urged the incoming chairman "not to disappoint the people."
Lu noted that although the DPP has claimed to have 500,000 members, only 234,000 were eligible to vote in the January 15 by-election and that only around 46,000 had voted, for a turnout of less than 20 percent.
Noting that Yu won the chairmanship with over 25,000 or 54 percent of those votes, Lu said that Yu was effectively elected by only 10.7 percent of the DPP's eligible membership.
"This is a serious message," said Lu.
The departing interim chairwoman also urged the party to pay close attention to the series of minor elections this year, concluding with the polls to elect new mayors and city councils for the Taipei and Kaohsiung municipalities.
Lu also stated that "clean governance" was a core value of the DPP in its nearly 20 years of existence, but that "this core value has been clouded in the past year."
The vice president also stated that the DPP needed to take stronger action to bolster the powers of the newly founded "clean politics committee" after reporting that some informants and persons who were the object of informant reports had "not cooperated enough" with the committee, thus impeding its investigations.
Lu said that the CSC had resolved to appoint a new subcommittee to revise the implementing regulations of the new committee, which has accepted four of over 20 possible cases for further review to see whether party discipline was violated.
Finally, Lu called for a deeper re-examination of the reasons for the DPP's setback in the December 3 local elections that, unlike an earlier review, would assign responsibility.
Lu also issued a statement listing 10 accomplishments during her six weeks as interim chairwoman from December 7 to yesterday, including the completion of the January 15 chairperson by-election, the promotion of the official inauguration of a "clean politics committee" approved previously by the CSC and the establishment of a party affairs development commission.