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Freezing 'independence' clause pushed to next meeting: Tsai

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday announced that the debate regarding a controversial proposal to freeze the party's “Taiwan independence” clause would be postponed until its next weekly meeting at the party's annual national congress.

Former DPP lawmakers Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南) and Julian Kuo (郭正亮), who spearheaded the proposal, said that the DPP should freeze the “Taiwan independence” clause in the party charter, which calls for the establishment of a “Republic of Taiwan.” Tsai said earlier last week that whether or not the clause should be frozen should not be an issue as “Taiwan is already a country with independent sovereign rights.”

“We are voting for the new members of our Central Standing Committee (CSC) and Central Executive Committee (CEC); a discussion (of the freeze) would inevitably call for more time than we have on our hands,” said Tsai after the meeting.

With over 500 party representatives voting to elect 30 CEC members out of 46 registered candidates, who in turn will elect 10 CSC members, much of the public's attention was focused on how many of Tsai's intraparty supporters would be elected.

In her opening speech, Tsai declared that it was time to “teach the ruling party a lesson.”

Tsai Calls for Change in Politics

Not only is the Ma administration incapable of responding to the rising complaints of the people and Taiwan's current issues, it has also chosen to override the people's opinions, said Tsai. “The DPP is here to declare that the people have had enough, and that it is time for change ... We will win back the people's trust in politics by improving the people's lives, bringing Taiwan — dull under the rule of the Kuomintang (KMT) — to a path that brings changes,” said Tsai.

While the country is facing a great deal of challenges, including a waning economy lacking in efficient strategies and a dysfunctional constitutional system, the president is busy trying to hold on to his power amid the crisis, said Tsai, who added that the people had lost their confidence in Taiwanese politics.

“The seven-in-one elections in 2014 will be the beginning of a string of changes in Taiwan's political scene. The DPP is not only promising the people changes, it will also be dedicating itself to responding to the country's current situation,” Tsai said.

New Tide Faction Wins Majority of CEC Seats

With its many intraparty factions, competition was fierce among the DPP's leading politicians and their supporters vying for votes.

The New Tide faction (新潮流系) won the majority of CEC seats yesterday, with six seats over the five respective seats scored by subgroups that supported Tsai, former Premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Hsyi-kun (游錫堃).

Subgroups supporting former Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Kaoshiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) landed three seats each, although both Su and former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) decided not to run for CEC membership.

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