Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: The DPP is its own worst enemy

Instead of serving as a catalyst for change in how businesses and banks are regulated, the Rebar Group scandal has turned into yet another bout of self mutilation for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

After the resignation of Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) on Friday, the next head lined up for the media chopping block was Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

But why should Su step down to take responsibility for the actions of a crooked businessman? And what can the Cabinet do to prevent corrupt individuals from secretly embezzling funds and fleeing the country? To date, no one has come up with an answer for either of these questions.

In their clamor to find a fall guy, people have overlooked the fact that the swift action taken by Su and his Cabinet brought an immediate end to any adverse effects the scandal was having on investor confidence and the nation's financial markets.

And thankfully, all the speculation about Su's future was deflated on Sunday when the president gave the premier his full backing.

So where did the hullabaloo about the premier stepping down originate?

It stemmed largely from two sources. First, the pro-China pan-blue media, which circle like vultures waiting for the slightest hint of a problem, ready to discredit the government, criticize politicians and demand their resignations. They are almost too ravenous in their hunger to peck at Su, the person viewed by the opposition as the DPP's strongest candidate for the 2008 presidential election.

The effectiveness of these organizations in shaping the direction of local news cannot be underestimated. This has been exemplified by the way the focus has quickly been diverted onto the government and who should go rather than the systemic flaws that allowed the scandal to happen and the illegal behavior of Rebar Group founder Wang You-theng (王又曾).

But the second and by far the largest culprit is the DPP itself, with party infighting at the root of the whole episode.

Despite passing a resolution last July aimed at dissolving the party's many factions, internal rivalries still exist and it is these that are aiding the opposition in working to topple Su.

It goes without saying that members of the former Welfare State Faction and supporters of former Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), emboldened by his performance in last month's Taipei mayoral election, will take any opportunity to undermine Su, one of Hsieh's rivals for the party's presidential nomination.

But Su is a strong character and the latest rumors are like water off a duck's back. However, the individuals who started such rumors and untruths should be aware that their gossip-mongering is damaging the party.

The DPP has endured a torrid time in the media since assuming power, with various corruption cases and scandals making the headlines. The party's standing and image as an alternative to the previous regime has taken a hit in the minds of the electorate. More bad press will only cause more harm to the party.

What the DPP needs in the run up to next year's presidential election is a period of stability.

But as long as the big four -- Su, Hsieh, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun -- continue jockeying for position with one eye on the presidential nomination, the next few months promise anything but.

This story has been viewed 3017 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top