Vote-buying reports swirl around DPP nat’l congress

The China Post staff

Amid reports of vote-buying, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold a national congress Sunday to elect members of the party’s Central Executive Committee and the Central Standing Committee. As the party’s role in the government’s policy-making process is expected to increase substantially after President Chen Shui-bian starts doubling as DPP chairman Sunday, competition for a seat on the party’s decision-making Central Standing Committee and the Central Executive Committee has heated up in recent weeks. Party sources said those who intend to win a seat on the 30-member Central Executive Committee and the 10-member Central Standing Committee have been canvassing ballots from congress delegates. Major factions within the party have dominated the elections, with little room left for those who do not have close ties to major intraparty factions. Against this backdrop, hopefuls have also competed intensely to win the support of congress delegates with loose links with major factions. Some hopefuls have allegedly resorted to vote-buying. The China Times Express quoted DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying, who is also a member of the party’s Central Standing Committee, as claiming that certain candidates have offered to buy a ballot for a price of NT$1.5 million. Meanwhile, many current staff members at DPP headquarters were complaining about the party leadership’s rudeness in handling the latest personnel reshuffle. Several incumbent department chiefs have been downgraded to deputy chiefs, while others have not been informed of their future jobs or positions in the party. Some staff members expressed doubts over the wisdom of appointing Legislator Chen Chung-hsin to head the pro-independence DPP’s China affairs department. Chen is known for advocating an open-door policy towards Beijing and doesn’t strongly oppose Beijing’s “one China” stance.

Worse yet, Legislator Tuan Yi-kan, who originally agreed to head the party’s youth affairs department, didn’t show up at a news conference hosted by would-be DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung to introduce the party’s new line-up.