Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Party conflict drives away voters

By Bruce Jacobs

Take, for example, former premier and DPP chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷). He led the DPP to a disastrous loss in the 2008 presidential election. Despite promising to leave politics, he has continued to interfere and to place his people in key party positions. His incomprehensible China policies were decisively defeated by the DPP, but he continues to mouth meaningless slogans like “one China, two cities” and “two constitutions, different interpretations.” Does not Hsieh realize that “one China” is Beijing’s policy to swallow Taiwan and that Beijing does not care about its state and party constitutions?

Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) did much better than Hsieh in her defeat in the 2012 presidential election, but she too had significant problems. Her presentations to US leaders were disastrous and her unwillingness to speak with people outside her own narrow and incompetent subordinates meant that she did not run a positive campaign. Her continued unwillingness to work with others worries even her close supporters today.

In their concern for themselves, the DPP’s heavyweights have also failed to prepare for the next generation. Youth have provided the DPP with significant electoral support, but where are the young future leaders of the party today? Should not such young leaders be gaining experience in such places as Taipei and New Taipei City as well as in the south?

Why do people like former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), both aged over 65, think they are the best candidates that the DPP has?

Taiwan’s voters, like Australian voters, do not like political parties that cannot govern themselves. Will the KMT and/or the DPP heed this warning and make significant reforms?

Unfortunately, I am pessimistic since too many political leaders put their own interests before those of the nation.

Bruce Jacobs is emeritus professor of Asian languages and studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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