DAP's hopes that the backlash over its Central Executive Committee (CEC) election fiasco might soon die down have been dashed by revelations that up to ten branches are now in open revolt.
K. Yogasigamany of the Taman Chi Lung Indah branch held a press conference Wednesday to openly call fresh elections as the only way to restore "integrity and public confidence in the party".
"If not, public perception of fraud and manipulation in the polls will linger on," he said.
"This will affect the image, reputation and credibility of the party."
Yogasigamany is the first to break ranks and publicly challenge the official party position but he says he is not alone. He claims to represent ten branches that are just as unhappy as he is. They are aggrieved by the original counting fiasco and its improbable explanation ("technical glitch") and the subsequent resolution in which a secret recount was held before the matter was made public.
That recount conveniently resulted in the party's favoured Malay candidate, Zairil Khir Johari, making it to CEC despite having been roundly rejected the first time around along with every other Malay candidate.
Yogasigamany's call is a huge blow for the senior party leadership that had accepted its opponents will "have a field day" over its misfortunes, but had otherwise hoped the final election outcome would be accepted within DAP. How wrong they were.
Now party Chairman Karpal Singh, Secretary General Lim Guan Eng and the other 18 members of the CEC are in a real fix. The rejection of the election result has done more to taint the CEC than any attacks from the other side of politics, meaning its authority will be questioned until fresh elections are held.
Will they be able to tough it out, sticking with the present CEC line-up until GE13? To do so would be as risky as it is undemocratic.
DAP has done everything to put this issue to rest but to no avail. It announced both the initial problem and its magic solution in one hit, it sacrificed returning officer Pooi Weng Keong in the hope that he take some of the bad news with him as he headed out the door and it even detailed its inability to master Microsoft Excel as if the rakyat would sympathise with its lack of computer literacy.
Now it is back to square one and the leadership will have to do what Guan Eng avoids doing at all costs – meeting with branch members and humbly asking them to back down from their call for fresh CEC elections in the interest of the party less than 100 days from GE13.
If it can't head off this revolt, it will find MCA waiting in the wings. Party President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek Tuesday reminded voters that such a vote-counting error could not happen in his party (or any other within Barisan Nasional) given its transparent counting procedures. Furthermore he said, all election results are announced the same day, with a full break down of the numbers. There can be no three-week delays in which a secret recount can be held.
As well as appeasing the branches, DAP also has to rethink its plan of attack in the run-up to GE13. It has already indicated its readiness to attack the Election Commission and the legitimacy of our election process. To try that tactic now would only invite more ridicule in return.