Fri, Dec 19, 2014 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: DPP should not rest on its laurels

Following the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) landslide victory in last month’s elections, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) warned the party to be cautious.

Democratic elections are decided at the ballot box and voters expressed their view of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) performance with their votes. The DPP’s big victory does not necessarily mean that voters approve of the DPP’s performance. Opposition parties have no policy track record to defend, so the victory had cost the DPP nothing — many people unwilling to vote for the KMT simply voted for the DPP instead. These swing voters helped the DPP to an unexpected landslide victory, but that does not mean they will vote for the DPP in the next election.

The elections reset everything and the competition begins anew. Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has broken new ground using Internet voting to select department directors, and although social activist Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) was chosen to head the city’s labor department, the selection process was criticized for being open to manipulation. Ko’s approach to appointing officials is innovative, but he admits that the system has taken a beating and only time will tell if it is successful. In the end, Ko will have to take full political responsibility for the outcome. The selection of Ni Chung-hua (倪重華) as director of the department of culture was criticized by many of the city’s political advisers, who then resigned in protest. Criticism was also directed at Taipei Department of Urban Development director-designate Lin Jou-min (林洲民) for not being a licensed architect. Even before taking office, Ko has managed to upset many people.

The DPP is now in charge of more local governments and has more politically active officials. Still, taking responsibility for policy implementation is also the first step toward losing popularity. When Greater Taichung mayor-elect Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) announced that former minister of transportation and communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) would be made deputy mayor, the decision was criticized as less than ideal, because Lin is over 70, and it was said that his past policies and private integrity are questionable.

In contrast, KMT reform is getting under way. New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) is the only candidate for the party chairmanship election, and he has proposed reforms to party affairs. His views differ from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) when it comes to issues such as returning party assets and dealing with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), which would lead to political reconciliation, and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) KMT membership, which could affect party unity. He has also suggested amending the Constitution and introducing a Cabinet system to take the initiative for such reform.

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) replaced former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), and past controversial policies such as fuel and electricity price hikes, consumer price increases and the capital gains tax on securities transactions are now being dealt with. Oil prices are falling weekly, electricity fees are to be refunded and the capital gains tax might be postponed for three years. The government used to be slow in reacting to public opinion, but it is now responding faster and with more sensitivity. Perhaps this will alleviate some of the public’s dissatisfaction.

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