TAIPEI -- Former Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-chen quit the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Friday, when he issued a written statement at 3:30 p.m., shortly before the opening of a meeting by the temporary standing committee of the DPP central committee.
Chen's move was apparently intended to avoid embarrassment at the meeting, which was to decide what to do about Chen, who admitted on Thursday that he had failed to fully declare his campaign funds, saying his wife transferred these funds abroad without informing him.
The move showed that Chen did not want to be expelled from his party, according to local observers.
"My conscience told me that I can't continue to cheat myself and others," Chen told a press conference on Thursday. He said he had thus decided to be frank that he had done something "not allowed by law".
He said he had untruthfully declared the amount of funds for four of his mayoral and Taiwan regional leader campaigns.
"Not until earlier this year did my wife admit that she had transferred some campaign money abroad without letting me know," he said.
Although Chen did not disclose the amount of remittances and denied any graft during his tenure, some of his opponents, including Hung Hsiu-chu from the Kuomintang party, charged that Chen's family had opened four bank accounts in Switzerland, with total deposits of almost 1 billion New Taiwan dollars (about US$32 million).
Hung said that Chen had remitted large sums abroad through his daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching.