Fri, Dec 16, 2005 - Page 8 News List

We should defend our democracy

By Lee Teng-hui 李登輝

Editor's note: the following text is a translation of a speech made by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to the Northern Taiwan Society on Sunday.

As everyone is aware, Taiwan's democracy and freedom were not easily won. Nevertheless, it is quite apparent that reactionary foreign political forces do not want to see the Taiwanese have control over their own country.

Ever since the transition of political power from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2000, opposition parties have consistently boycotted any laws proposed by the government, regardless of their merit. This sabotage has left the government stranded and has made it almost impossible for this government to achieve anything.

That having been said, even though it is true that this situation has arisen as a result of the opposition's majority in the legislature, we cannot put the blame entirely on their shoulders.

The electorate put their trust in the DPP to take the reins of the country, giving them access to, and control of, all the resources of government. After they won the election, the DPP should have done all they could to work together with the parties they had previously campaigned against, calling on all Taiwanese to give their utmost for the good of the country. Regarding this matter, the DPP has clearly not done very well.

It is not uncommon for the governing party in democratic countries to have a minority in the legislative body. One example of this would be Japan, where the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been in government for a long time despite the fact that it is not the largest party in the Diet. The fact that the LDP doesn't have a majority of seats, however, has not left Japanese politics in the same situation as in Taiwan.

Faced with the same predicament Japan has prevailed where Taiwan has failed. For this reason we believe that the DPP could have done more. Since they came to power they have been busy trying to secure their own factional interests rather than looking for a way to solve the legislative impasse. It is no wonder that the DPP was dealt an unprecedented blow in the recent three-in-one local elections. This defeat did not come from nowhere, and the Taiwanese people had good reason to deal such a blow to the party.

Since the DPP came to power, they have been saying one thing and doing another, and they have been consistent only in their inconsistency. Over time, the electorate has gradually lost confidence in the DPP.

During last year's legislative elections the DPP campaigned on the issues of the rectification of the national title and the creation of a new constitution. After the election, however, they unexpectedly changed their tune saying that they could not achieve the impossible.

It is clear from this response that they have not really put enough thought into how to make localization a reality, and have sought instead to placate the people with short-sighted policies.

This kind of thinking does not meet the exigencies of the situation. What everyone wants is realistic political policies designed with Taiwan in mind that will pave the way for the kind of future that we want to have.

There are a number of "Taiwan First" policies brought up during election campaigns that the DPP have consistently failed to follow up on. For quite some time now, the party has failed to understand that the people want to see how these localization policies can actually change their lives, tending instead to go round and round in circles spouting abstract slogans.

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