Tue, Aug 16, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Pan-greens need to pull together to help Taiwan

By Liu Kuan-teh 劉冠德

As the year-end county and city elections approach, partisan calculation has begun to overshadow pan-green unity. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) are at loggerheads over the nomination process for the elections -- particularly in Keelung and Yunlin County.

What apparently worries the TSU is that it may soon be swallowed up in a merger with the DPP, given new rules for legislative elections that are expected to favor bigger parties. To increase its leverage in future negotiations, it's only natural for the TSU to play hardball when it comes to talks with the DPP.

But with the potential morale boost for the pan-blue camp after Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship election, the pan-green camp should put aside partisan differences and forge closer cooperation.

The DPP and TSU have diverged in their response to recent political developments and cross-strait dynamics. The TSU keeps pressing forward with its campaign to change the national name and enact a new constitution. But those goals contradict President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) more moderate reaction toward China, as seen in the government's low-key reaction to the passage of Beijing's "Anti-Secession Law," its quiet handling of Taiwan opposition leaders' kowtowing visits to China and the Cabinet's announcement of a possible opening of Penghu as an addition to the so-called "small three links" -- which connect Kinmen and Matsu with points in China for limited transport, trade and tourism.

But both parties should bear in mind that the pan-green alliance cannot afford to split simply for the sake of individual electoral concerns. It is time to consolidate pan-green unity and redefine DPP-TSU cooperation.

This explains why Chen emphasized to the TSU his stance of "one principle, three insistences and five oppositions" when he attended the TSU's three-year anniversary celebration.

Protecting Taiwan's sovereignty and negotiating with China under the principle of democracy, parity and peace is the bottom line that binds together not just the pan-green camp but most political parties in Taiwan.

The "three insistences" -- not weakening the nation's convictions over democratic reform, persisting with protecting Taiwan's interests and staying true to the mission of transforming Taiwan into a great and progressive nation -- have long been shared by the DPP and the TSU.

Therefore, there is no reason why the DPP and the TSU should not cooperate in elections and policymaking. Unless, that is, the TSU only cares about its political interests.

As Chen said, the relationship between the two parties should change from the original "brotherhood" to an "alliance of values" and "action partner."

Given that cross-strait relations have entered into a new stage of complexity with international implications, the TSU should take into account both domestic and external concerns and play a supplementary role to the government.

The most difficult problem for the pan-green camp is not how to distinguish the DPP's campaign appeal from that of the TSU. It's rather the degree to which both parties can compete with each other in a decent way.

To resolve the political complications within the pan-green camp, more communication and cooperation is needed. Leaders of the DPP and the TSU must bear the following in mind: Do whatever you can to set yourself up for another pan-green camp victory, and do nothing that will make your next effort more difficult, even it you have to compete with each other.

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