Monday, July 21, 2014

Tsai’s allies make gains at DPP congress

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) leadership for the next two years took shape yesterday during elections at the annual congress as DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gained an ability to influence the party’s power structure for the first time.

Tsai, who neither established her own alliance nor became affiliated with any grouping when she served as chairperson between 2008 and 2012, yesterday saw allies voted onto the party’s key decisionmaking bodies — the Central Executive Committee and the Central Standing Committee.

While Tsai has been reluctant to recognize her “special circle” as a faction, she now has five allies among the 30 elected members of the Central Executive Committee and two confidants — DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) and her former presidential running mate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) — among the 10 elected members of the Central Standing Committee.

This will make it easier for Tsai to consolidate her power in the party and to initiate proposals or defend her policies.

It also highlighted Su Jia-chyuan’s official return to the party’s power structure after a hiatus for almost two years since the 2012 presidential election and the controversy over a residence he built on land zoned solely for agricultural use in Pingtung County.

The biennial elections for the Central Executive Committee, the Central Standing Committee and the Central Review Committee, which oversees the DPP’s internal affairs, were held during yesterday’s congress.

The Central Standing Committee, the DPP’s highest decisionmaking body, has 17 members: the chairperson, three DPP caucus executives, three mayors and 10 elected members — who are chosen from among the 30-person Central Executive Committee.

Almost all the DPP’s former factions fared equally winning seats on the Central Standing Committee. The former New Tide faction won two seats, as did a “faction” of Tsai, Yu and Hsieh, while former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) faction won one seat, as did the Green Friendship Alliance.

The same balanced of power is now found on the Central Executive Committee after the election, with New Tide and the Tsai-Yu-Hsieh side each winning five seats, followed by Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu’s (陳菊) faction, which has four seats. Su’s faction and the Green Friendship Alliance each won three seats.

Central Executive Committee member Hung Chi-kune (洪智坤) failed to win re-elected due to a lack of support from any faction.

Eleven Central Review Committee members were also elected.

The DPP voted to ban party factions during its national congress in June 2006, though the groupings are still recognized by many people inside and out of the party.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) banned party factions in January 2008.