Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陈菊) has been returned unopposed as acting chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the leading opposition party in Taiwan.
The mood at DPP headquarters appeared jovial yesterday as DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming, himself earlier tipped to become acting chairperson, praised Chen as an “exceptional candidate”.
“We’re putting Chen Chu up as chairperson because she isn’t here today,” quipped Ker in a light-hearted moment.
Chen, who was on an overseas visit, had earlier shown little interest in the position, saying she preferred to concentrate on her current role as Kaohsiung mayor and that “there are many other better candidates than myself within the party”.
But she accepted the role without hesitation, saying in a statement, “When Taiwan needs any of us go any where, there is nowhere for us to hide. Whether it’s to the dungeon, or to the line of fire, we will accept our calling, no turning back.”
Chen’s top priorities now were to “stabilize the post-election situation” and to “ease the transition between the previous and next party chiefs”, she said.
She also thanked Tsai Ing-wen for taking over the reins of the party in 2008 following the party’s disastrous showing in the 2008 elections.
Tsai had raised party members up from their disappointment, revived the DPP and put it on a solid starting ground, she added.
Born in Yilan County in 1950, Chen spent six years in jail during Taiwan’s martial law period (which lasted until 1987) for participating in pro-democracy demonstrations in Kaohsiung.
She was elected mayor of Kaohsiung, a DPP stronghold, in 2006 and won a second term in 2010.