Mon, Nov 13, 2006 - Page 8 News List

TSU needs to set off on a direction of its own

By Kuo Chang-feng 郭長豐

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) isn't supporting the third recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the legislature, but its reaction certainly hasn't been in sync with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections, the TSU has insisted on running its own candidates and has even launched direct attacks on the DPP. The TSU's supporters are becoming more disgruntled by the day.

When the party initially announced that it would support the third recall motion following the the indictment of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), many voters that support localization finally decided that they had had enough and advocated "letting the TSU disappear completely."

The TSU was established in July 2001 under a call from former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to create a party that would "stabilize the political situation, revive the economy, secure democracy and strengthen Taiwan." Its establishment gave many pro-localization voters another political choice besides the DPP.

Since there is so much overlap between supporters of the two parties, the TSU had a hard time finding a way to establish itself. The strategy of distancing itself from the other greens that Lee has devised clearly hasn't worked, as there hasn't been any improvement in the TSU's mayoral poll numbers in Taipei or Kaohsiung.

Instead, Lee's approach has only hurt the TSU's candidates. Under intense pressure from voters, TSU legislators finally decided to submit to the demands of their supporters and reversed their stance on the third presidential recall motion.

It took the DPP 20 years of hard work to earn the trust of pro-localization voters. The TSU also emerged out of the localization movement, so it must be steadfast in maintaining a pro-localization stance.

Of course integrity is important, and so are localization interests. The party must stick to the view that the interests of the nation should be prioritized over narrow party or individual interests. Just as the Northern Taiwan Society advocates that "our highest moral standard is in upholding the localized government," we must first ensure the stability of the localized government before we can demand that it be clean and effective.

The TSU should pursue a course toward localization, integrity and effectiveness. First, however, it should make sure that it is firm in its support of localization before comparing its integrity and effectiveness to that of the DPP or criticizing the DPP when it has deviated from the pro-localization cause -- such as earlier this year when TSU lawmakers walked out of the Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development over a proposal to raise the China-bound investment cap supported by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

The TSU may be small, but it is able. When small parties face larger parties that stand for the same things as they do, they should make the wise and perceptive decision not to fight them on every issue. Instead, they should try to create breakthroughs by attacking issues where the other party is weaker, thus pursuing a course of steady and stable growth.

For example, under the single-member district, two-vote system being introduced in next year's legislative elections, if the DPP runs Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and the TSU runs David Huang (黃適卓) in Taipei's Zhongzheng/Wanhua District, who knows who the pro-localization voters will choose?

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