Chen Shui-bian readmitted into DPP
By Katherine Wei, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Despite opposing voices within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was readmitted into the party yesterday.
August 15, 2013, 11:50 am TWN
After being convicted of corruption charges and several attempts at committing suicide behind bars, Chen's wish of re-entering the party was finally realized in the DPP's Central Standing Committee, three months after his application was submitted.
The decision was passed by the party's investigation panel — which is in charge of controversial membership applications — after a vote, but the members were not able to reach a consensus. “Some remained against Chen's readmission even after a prolonged debate, but the result had been determined by the majority of group members,” said DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), convener of the investigation group.
Kuan declined to elaborate on the number of opposing members and their reasons.
The DPP announced Chen's wish to be a part of the party again in May, and although several legislators had originally planned to propose for Chen's membership to be restored, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was appointed to submit Chen's application; aiming to follow the party's admission procedure to avoid a wildfire of criticism.
According to Kuan, the DPP had shown its concern for Chen regardless of his membership status throughout the years, fighting for Chen's rights to receive extensive medical care and due process. “Chen suffers from severe depression, his emotions linked to the readmission (should be) taken into consideration by the DPP,” said Kuan, who also stressed that any intraparty conflicts regarding the issue would be inappropriate.
Grateful to the DPP: Chen Chih-chung
Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), the ex-president's son, extended his gratitude to the party on Chen's behalf.
“Although the procedure for his readmission had been delayed, my father is still willing to trust his old party, said Chen Chih-chung. The passage of Chen's readmission proves how he had been treated unequally in the past judiciary trials (that eventually concluded his 20-year sentence behind bars), he added.
Conflict Flares Up Once More
Following the opposing opinion of former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), former DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) slammed the party's decision harshly, saying the act was a shameful record in the DPP's history, while former Premier Frank Hsieh voiced his respect and support for the group's decision.
Several members of the investigation group had allegedly voiced their opposition against Chen's readmission right after the meeting began, saying that the DPP will lose (the ability) to defend itself and will be forever stuck with the problems left from Chen's past corruption.
“Should Chen insist on rejoining the party, his readmission will be a nightmare for whoever runs for president in 2016,” said Lin.
The DPP's act in accepting Chen largely contradicts its regulations — freshly stressed by party spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) in May — that applicants with a criminal record are not to be granted membership, and that no exceptions will be made.