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July 26, 2017

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DPP votes to dissolve party factions

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to the decision Sunday that all the party's many factions should be dissolved. But the effects of the decision have come under questioning by even some DPP members and other political parties.

The decision was adopted at the party's 12th national congress that opened the previous day, with 153 of the 279 delegates present at the session giving a thumps-up to the resolution. Most members of the party's decision-making Central Standing Committee, including Vice President Annette Lu, Presidential Office Secretary-General Tan Sun Chen and acting Kaohsiung Mayor Yeh Chu-lan, lent their support to the resolution,initiated by Legislator Wang Hsing-nan.

According to the resolution, the factions must stop operations at once, can no longer set up offices in the name of a faction nor recruit members, hold any faction meetings, collect membership fees or raise funds from outside sources.

From now on, the resolution says, no factions are allowed to invite senior administration officials to report on policy formulation or progress in major government projects.

The resolution also demands that all staff members at the DPP headquarters and local chapters, as well as central and locally elected officials, explicitly pledge their withdrawal from party factions during their terms in office.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said the party headquarters will work hard to ensure the liquidation of the factions now that the resolution has been formally approved. In the long run, Yu said he believes that the liquidation of the factions will contribute to the DPP's internal unity and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, Vice President Lu said that disbanding the factions meets the expectations of society and rank-and-file DPP members. "I hope all the factional leaders will continue working in concert in the wake of the dissolution of their factions," she said.

In a last-ditch effort to block the passage of the "liquidation" resolution, DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming came up with a proposal calling for self-discipline of the factions, but the proposal failed to pass the national congress, with only 113 delegates endorsing it.

Nearly all DPP factions, including the Justice Alliance, the Welfare State Alliance and the lesser-known Green amity Alliance and Mainstream Alliance, have thrown support behind the resolution by immediately announcing dissolution of their factions.

Even the party's most powerful New Tide faction, which had been formed even before the birth of the DPP, said it respects the resolution and will comply with all provisions.

However, Tuan Yi-kang, a former legislator who plays an important role in the New Tide faction, questioned the rationale of the resolution.

Tuan said it seems to him that the resolution was primarily aimed at the New Tide faction. In his view, Tuan said the DPP's most urgent task is self discipline to prevent graft and corruption rather than dissolution of its factions.

Another DPP lawmaker described the decision is similar to "driving the legal prostitution houses" underground.

The remarks immediately drew strong protest from a group of sex workers, who claimed that they have much higher moral standards than both the DPP and President Chen Shui-bian.

A Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator said that the resolution adopted by the DPP to dissolve its party factions will not necessarily be beneficial to bilateral cooperation between the two parties.

Huang Shih-cho, chief convener of the TSU legislative caucus, it is natural for the DPP's factions to have their own advocacies, but the TSU does not think the New Tide Faction will give up its insistence that the government should open more doors in dealing with cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

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