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DPP congress defers motion on pardon for Chen Shui-bian

2017/09/24 19:08:24

former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁, front center)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) failed to discuss a motion calling for the pardon of former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at its annual national congress Sunday after an insufficient number of representatives turned up for the motion.

Earlier in the day, DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsiao Yung-ta (蕭永達), a leading member of the Local Council Alliance for the Amnesty of A-bian, the nickname of the former president, said the failure of the motion would speak to the party's unwillingness to shoulder the political responsibility associated with such a decision.

Hsiao said he had proposed changes to the congress agenda to prioritize the motion initiated by five DPP members, including Kaohsiung Council Speaker Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成), which called for pardoning Chen.

However, his proposal was rejected and the motion listed as the 10th topic for discussion.

Hsiao insisted the motion was in no way intended to pressure President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is also DPP chairperson, but rather a call for the party to back a pardon for Chen as the national congress is the party's highest authority.

Noting that 85 percent of 591 active DPP representatives signed a petition supporting Chen's pardon, including the heads of all 11 DPP-governed cities and counties, Hsiao said the motion was likely to be passed.

However, when the time came to discuss the motion on Sunday it was shelved because only 135 party representatives were present and a minimum of 295 are necessary for a motion to be considered.

The former president, who is currently on medical parole, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 20 years in prison shortly after his second term ended in 2008.

He was incarcerated at Taichung Prison, but was released in January 2015 on medical parole and has since been living in Kaohsiung.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)