The "deep green" backlash to the 10-point consensus reached between President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) continues. A split between Chen and the rump of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), on the one hand, and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) on the other, seems inevitable unless Chen makes a sincere and immediate effort to account for himself.
Four senior figures in the pro-independence group -- Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂) and Alice King (金美齡) -- have submitted resignations from their posts as presidential advisors, though Wu has had second thoughts.
Even within the DPP, severe criticism has accompanied the signing of the accord. DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (
While Chen personally may not have much to lose, since he will most likely never again run for public office, the same cannot be said about his party.
Yesterday, for example, the chairman of the DPP's Sanchong headquarters, Tung King-hsing (董金興), resigned from the party and said he would join the TSU. It is no secret that Sanchong has a large number of DPP supporters: In December's legislative elections the city contributed more than 100,000 votes to the DPP. Tung said he couldn't stand the pressure and outrage from the grassroots any longer.
This raises the question of whether the DPP's performance in the upcoming mayor and county commissioner elections will suffer as a result.
Chen's behavior in the face of criticism from the pro-independence camp has not helped things. His remarks during a videoconference with members of the European Parliament, in particular, have only increased the anger of the "deep greens." Comments that he would not change the national title during his final term and that Lee would not be able to do so either, were he still in office, are two examples of this.
Equally inflammatory was his description of the campaign to change the title of this country as "delusional."
Chen does not seem to understand the reason for the outrage. As Lee said both before and after Chen's meeting with Soong, reconciliation with the PFP is something to be encouraged. However, what is the point of reconciliation if one's soul and core values are abandoned?
Had Chen always been as "pragmatic" as he is today, he would not have come as far as he has. It is very difficult to believe that Chen became the "pragmatic" man that he is overnight. Does this mean that during the latest legislative and presidential election campaigns when Chen trumpeted these ideals, he never once believed they could be accomplished while he was in office?
There is another question that Chen should keep in mind. If he does not patch things up with the "deep greens," then where will he turn -- who will give him the time of day -- if the agreement with the PFP falls apart?