The National Party Congress
The highest decision-making body within the DPP is the National Party Congress. Its members are selected democratically from the members of the party, and jointly participate in making the major decisions of the party. The members of the National Congress include: representatives elected by the city and county branches of the party, representatives from Taiwan’s aboriginal groups, current members of the Central Executive Committee, members of the Central Review Committee, the Secretary General, current directors of the city and county branches, current directors of specialty branch offices, the chair of the Central Review Committee, and party members who hold elected office at the national or municipal levels.
The Central Party Headquarters is composed of the Central Executive Committee, the Central Standing Committee, the Central Review Committee, and various party departments (The Secretariat, Department of Organizational Development, Department of Culture and Communications, Department of International Affairs*, Department of Social Development, Department of Women’s Development, Department of Youth Development, Department of Ethnic Affairs, Financial Management Committee, Policy Research Committee, Public Opinion Survey Center, and the Democracy Institute).
(*The Department of China Affairs officially merged with the Department of International Affairs on August 2007)
The Central Executive Committee and the Central Standing Committee
The Central Executive Committee (CEC) and the Central Standing Committee (CSC) implement the decisions of the National Party Congress, formulate and execute the policy plans of the party, set the internal party regulations and make budget projections. They also make key personnel decisions, administer the system of awards and penalties for party members and supervise the functions of local branches and other branches under its jurisdiction. Both committees work together and consult with each other.
The CEC constitutes thirty members elected from the National Party Congress and four appointed members. The CSC members are chosen from the CEC by the 30 CEC members; they serve a two-year term and can be re-elected. The party chairman will also sit on both the CEC and the CSC.
The Central Executive Committee should include elected officials to foster a proper and sufficient interchange between the party and the general public. The composition of the Central Executive Committee would change in accordance with the party’s status as the ruling or opposition party.
When in power, the core of decision-making will lie with the administrative branch. The focus should be on the realization of campaign promises and formulating legislation. The President should be given considerable autonomy to appoint a Central Executive Committee member and Central Standing Committee member. This appointee would coordinate with the Chairman of Legislative Yuan Party Caucus to decide on issues. The Central Executive Committee and Central Standing Committee would become the forum for communication, headed by the President and consisting of the Presidential Office, Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan Party Caucus.
When in opposition, the Legislative leadership would shift to the party. The focus would be on supervising policy implementation and strengthening the governing power of local governments. Therefore, the Central Executive Committee and Central Standing Committee members will consist of important party leaders and city and county heads. The Committees will be a mechanism for facilitating communication between the Party and the Legislative Party Caucus.
When the DPP is the ruling party, the President will automatically assume chairmanship. When in opposition, the chairman will be elected directly by party members.
In most democratic nations, whether following a presidential or parliamentary system, once a party wins power, the President or the Prime Minister automatically assumes party leadership. He or she has substantial influence within the party in order to carry out the party platform. Thus the inconsistency between the party and the government can be avoided, and campaign promises and platforms can be more efficiently pursued. This is a natural development within a democratic country’s party politics.
Currently the DPP chairman is elected by party members. According to the principles of responsible politics and party politics, and to pursue the reform ideals of internalization and democratization, the President should be the party chairman when in office. In other words, the party chairman should be elected using the “bi-track system”. While in opposition, the chairman would be directly elected by the party members, in accordance with democratic principles. In this way the party reform encompasses the new spirit of internalization, while also preserving the DPP’s tradition of democratization.
The Central Review Committee
The Central Review Committee supervises the implementation of party policies and internal party regulations and oversees the budgets drawn up by the Central Executive Committee. It also reviews the party’s financial accounts and decides on the awards and penalties for party members. The Central Review Committee may interpret the party charter and relevant regulations.
The Central Review Committee is comprised of eleven members who are elected by the National Party Congress. The Central Review Committee elects one of its members to serve as director of the Committee. The director serves a two-year term, and may be elected to an additional term.
At least one-fourth of the members on the Central Executive Committee, Central Standing Committee and Central Review Committee must be of the same gender.
The Arbitration Committee
The Arbitration Committee is responsible for settling disputes between the party’s central and local agencies, and between central agencies and party members. When engaged in the arbitration of major disputes, the Arbitration Committee may interpret the party’s charter.
The Arbitration Committee has eleven members. These members are recommended by the Central Executive Committee and must be people of good character and impartial judgment who are able to settle disputes in an unbiased manner from inside and outside the party. The Central Executive Committee’s recommendations must be approved by the National Party Congress. Arbitration Committee members do not receive any compensation. They serve for the same term as members of the Central Standing Committee. The members of the Arbitration Committee recommend one of their members to serve as director of the Committee.
Legislative Party Caucus
From city councils to the national legislature, the DPP has established party caucuses at each level of representative government. Each party caucus has the right to make its own decisions and undertake activities autonomously as long as the DPP’s charter and policies are not violated.