The chairwoman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, Lai Shin-yuan, yesterday announced that she would continue to work for the Ma Ying-jeou government and quit the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). 'I have chosen to voluntarily leave the TSU in order to devote myself to promoting public affairs,' she said. The announcement came after the party gave her three days to decide whether she would continue to be a member. The TSU, which has transformed itself from a pro-independence party to a centre-left organisation, had been unhappy with Ms Lai, saying she should have upheld the party's position that opening Taiwan to the mainland would hurt the island. The party had asked Ms Lai to use her position as head of the council, which charts the island's mainland policy, to restrain the economic exchange policy of Mr Ma's mainland-friendly Kuomintang. Ms Lai said since she had taken office in May, she had done all she could to minimise the impact of the liberalisation of cross-strait exchanges. She said she regretted the TSU misunderstood her and had no plans to join any political parties. Observers said her withdrawal from the TSU would give her a freer hand to deal with the planned visit by the mainland's top negotiator, Chen Yunlin , who is expected in the next few weeks for a second round of talks on shipping, flights and financial co-operation. Like its former ally, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the TSU has opposed the visit. Meanwhile, the DPP announced a protest against the government next Saturday, using Mr Chen's planned visit to mobilise people. However, DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen stressed that the protests would target Mr Ma's policy so Mr Chen would understand how the Taiwanese felt about the government. Ms Tsai called for a ceasefire between rival factions after an embarrassing brawl erupted at the party's headquarters over whether to continue to stump for former president Chen Shui-bian. Ms Tsai said the DPP could not afford to have an internal feud. The ex-leader quit the DPP in August after he was implicated in a US$21 million money laundering scandal. The brawl started after DPP Taipei city committee director Huang Ching-lin led a group of grass-roots members in protesting against the party's secretary general, Wang Touh, over his criticism of the former president. Mr Wang had said it was improper for party leaders to support the ex-president after another DPP deputy secretary general, Chen Chi-mai, showed up at a seminar with Chen Shui-ban in the southern city of Kaohsiung at the weekend. Mr Wang said leaders must put aside personal feelings and observe party values of integrity and reform.