Tsai stonewalls pardon proposal, calls for constitutional reform at party convention

President Tsai said that she had heard what Hsiao and other supporters of Chen's pardon had to say along with 16 other issues left out in the convention. (The China Post file photo)

TAIPEI (TCP) – In a thinly-veiled rebuttal to a petition by DPP members calling on her to pardon former President Chen Shui-bian, Tsai said that while the DPP is a democratic organization with many internal debates, the party “should not forget that we should be debating on values and routes (for future policies), not personal benefits.” Tsai, who doubles as the chairwoman of the DPP, said that Taiwanese people have owed the party nothing and warned the party not to start unnecessary troubles.

Some 500 signatories, including all of the local government chiefs of the party and over 86 percent of its lawmakers, supported the petition for Chen’s pardon. An attempt by the organizer of the petition to have the issue discussed at the national convention failed after the party decided to discuss it at the central executive committee meeting later.

Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsiao Jung-ta (蕭永達), one of the starting organizers of the petition, yelled at Tsai during the convention on several occasions. Hsiao called for a change of agenda to move to the discussion on Chen’s pardon forward but the party decided to consider a change of schedule only after all Central Standing Committee issues were gone through.

After the discussions on Central Standing Committee issues wrapped up after 4 p.m., Tsai called for a 5-minute break. Proposal discussion was then suspended because not enough members have returned after the break. At nearly 5 p.m., the scheduled closing time of the convention, Tsai proceeded to end the event by reading the manifesto. Hsiao heckled Tsai’s speech but was talked down by the president.

Tsai said later that she had heard what Hsiao and other supporters of Chen’s pardon had to say along with 16 other issues left out in the convention. Senior party officials stood by Tsai’s decision, saying that the party is neutral to the proposal to pardon Chen and is open to allow a discussion on it.

President Tsai Ing-wen called for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to push for constitutional reforms in voting rights and human rights as well as other issues at the party’s national convention on Sunday. 

The China Post staff