Tsai to stay on as DPP chairwoman

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President-elect Tsai Ing-wen will stay on as chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party after her May 20 inauguration, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

Former President Chen Shui-bian also combined the presidency with the party leadership during part of his rule, while President Ma Ying-jeou did the same at the Kuomintang for a period.

According to the Apple Daily, members of the DPP’s Central Executive Committee Wednesday afternoon told Tsai they wanted her to combine the two positions, and she agreed. The reported decision came despite criticism that it would combine too much power or that it would require the new president to divide her attention between two functions, the one of government leader or head of state and the one as party leader.

Proponents of the move say it would facilitate the passage of government policies and would allow the president to exert more control over the party’s direction while hearing varying opinions about her administration’s policies.

Earlier after her January 16 election victory, speculation had already started about who could succeed Tsai as party leader. Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu had been tipped as a potential new DPP chairwoman. If Tsai stays on, there will be no need for a new election campaign.

Tsai served as party leader from 2008 to 2012 and from 2014 until now.

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