Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian may rejoin the Democratic Progressive Party after an intense power struggle within the pro-independence group. The move is expected to deal a blow to party chairwoman, Tsai Ing-wen, who has tried to distance the party from Chen since his December detention over corruption. In a dramatic development yesterday, 15 executive members of the DPP's Taipei city committee voted unanimously to support a proposal to invite Chen to rejoin. Committee director Huang Ching-lin - a close friend of Chen, who proposed the former leader rejoin the party - said: 'We will bring the membership application form to the Taipei Detention Centre [today] for the ex-president to sign, and we welcome him to return to the DPP.' Mr Huang said Chen, a former chairman of the DPP, quit last August because he did not want the ruling Kuomintang to seize the opportunity to smear the party. He was referring to Chen's withdrawal after admitting that his wife had wired US$21 million abroad without his knowledge. Suspecting money-laundering, Swiss authorities notified Taiwan of unusual fund flows to the Cayman Islands, moves involving Chen's son and daughter-in-law. Chen said his wife was behind the transfers but insisted the sources of the funds were legal, and included campaign donations. The scandal has seriously hurt the party's image. Mr Huang said the indictment was politically motivated because the KMT wanted to split the DPP and suppress its pro-independence goal. He said Chen's return would help 'ease the rift within the party and alleviate the burden' on Ms Tsai. DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan said if Chen applied to return, the party's central committee would send the application to the membership committee for review. Regarding reports that Chen claimed he was forced to leave the party, Mr Cheng said Chen made his own decision. Ms Tsai has come under fire from Chen's supporters for trying to distance the party from him. She has also faced the defiance of Chen ally Mark Chen Tan-sun, who plans to run for magistrate of Tainan county.