The problem with this argument is that holding a “fake” referendum will not do the Ma administration any good and will only complicate matters for the KMT. The DPP has cited a number of reasons for why the KMT would hold a fake referendum, such as that it could continue construction of the project while pushing for a referendum.
However, the government has made concessions on this issue and it is also willing to discuss the threshold. It seems the KMT dares not play any tricks in this case.
Given these circumstances, it seems that the KMT has changed. It is a transformation that began long ago.
When Ma came to power, he appointed several officials disliked by party heavyweights and was criticized for forming a small faction of his own. After more than four years of trials, the party has surprised everyone by displaying great momentum.
Not only that: Under the pressure of a strong crisis awareness, these new officials have courageously broken with KMT tradition. Even a senior, deep-blue member like Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) is pushing for reform by making resolute cuts in government employees’ pensions.
The KMT carries a huge historical burden. Will “Ma’s army” be able to display the same kind of decisiveness when dealing with future issues in the same way as they are now dealing with the nuclear referendum and government employees’ pensions? No one knows, but at least they have made an impressive start. The greatest worry at the moment is the DPP.
The DPP still has not done much to address public expectations for reform and transformation, and when Ma and his team have taken over the DPP’s trademark issues one after another, it has only been able to resort to hackneyed accusations of “dirty tricks.”
The louder DPP leaders shout, the less convincing their claims. If this development continues, the KMT will be seen as a decisive and bold reformer, while the DPP will become a conservative and passive party.
What hopes could the DPP then have of winning the 2016 presidential election?
Lin Cho-shui is a former legislator of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Translated by Eddy Chang