Sun, Jan 09, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: PFP and DPP have different ideals

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) has recently suggested that his party either abolish or revise the independence clause of the party's platform, so as to make possible the cooperation between the DPP and the People First Party (PFP).

However, the clause had long been rendered moot by the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" (台灣前途決議文) of 1999, in which the DPP acknowledges that the name of the country is the Republic of China (ROC). Moreover, changing the party's platform for this reason is just not right.

The PFP and the DPP have fundamental differences -- the biggest being the national identity issue. While the PFP embraces the ideology that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are under the so-called "one China roof" -- which is very much like the "one China" principle, the DPP rejects the "one China" principle.

Due to this difference, the PFP has taken extreme caution in considering the possibility of working with the DPP. In particular, it fears a backlash from its supporters, whom most consider to be a more conservative and radical segment of the pan-blue camp.

However, in view of the enormous public pressure for inter-party cooperation, the DPP has been actively trying to explore the possibility of an alliance with the PFP, and the PFP is also giving it some serious thought. Lacking a legislative majority, this is a necessary step for the DPP to avoid repeating the problems of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) first term, during which policy implementation was made virtually impossible due to the boycott in the legislature.

Despite their differences, this does not mean there is no room for DPP-PFP cooperation. After all, political parties are supposed to have different political ideals and ideologies. Political diversity is precisely the point of a multi-party democracy. Nevertheless, political parties can still work together to the extent that there is overlap between their ideals and ideologies.

Therefore, although the DPP and PFP diverge on the issue of "one China" principle, they can still cooperate on other issues. Legislations dealing with domestic issues and interests would be a good starting point for the two parties to build some critically needed mutual trust.

As for the independence clause of the DPP's party platform, it should not serve as a grounds for the PFP's to refuse to work with the DPP. After all, according to the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future," which was approved in 1999, the DPP acknowledges that the name of this country is the "Republic of China." Moreover, the DPP has also subsequently passed a resolution indicating that all resolutions approved by the party, including the "Resolution on Taiwan' Future," shall have the same force as the party platform. More specifically, former DPP chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) specifically pointed out that where there is conflict between the independence clause of the platform and the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future," the latter shall prevail since it was approved later in time.

Many members of the DPP have advocated rectifying the name of the country to "Taiwan." However, until that is accomplished, ROC is still the name of this country, a fact that the DPP has not denied. To the PFP, which vows to defend the ROC until the end, the existence of the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" should no longer give it grounds to refuse cooperation with the DPP on the account on the DPP platform.

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