Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 6 News List


DPP primary not top priority

In truth, I could not care less who wins the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential primary contest between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德), as both candidates are good eggs. May the best candidate win.

Above all, what the nation needs is a genuinely fair competition that clearly highlights the difference between the pro-Taiwan DPP and the pro-China Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

As invariably happens in the run-up to a party primary, politicians and interest groups will scrutinize every possible angle, and analyze the pros and cons of each candidate in an attempt to lobby and influence the primary process.

Tsai and Lai each have their own support groups within the party, and it appears that this presidential primary will be a contest between those within the Cabinet and those outside it.

Pro-Tsai Cabinet members have access to more resources and power, and therefore hold a more advantageous position than the Lai camp. This is why many pan-green supporters fear it might not be a fair process.

DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who is responsible for overseeing the process, must ensure he does nothing that would affect the impartiality of the primary process. However much pressure Cho is put under, he must ensure that the primary is undertaken in a just, open and fair manner, without bias toward either side.

If any bias does occur, the party will risk incurring the wrath of its natural support base and might even turn away voters who become disappointed with the party.

Whether Tsai or Lai wins will be determined by how party members perceive each candidate to have performed on the “holy trinity” of progressive Taiwanese politics: the nation, defense and security.

Party members will be asking themselves: What are the policies of the nation’s future president in these three fundamental areas?

Nation: As Taiwan is already a sovereign, independent nation, should it take the next step to formally legalize its status within the international community?

Defense: The military has transitioned from its party-state era guise into a truly nationalized institution. However, under what circumstances should it go to war? Does this need to be explicitly stated?

Security: Chinese agents have infiltrated every corner of Taiwanese society, causing a great deal of concern among the public and the military. Does the nation need to step up its counterespionage efforts?

The real problem facing Taiwan is not one of economics, but of politics. We have an evil neighbor on our doorstep who has been meddling in our domestic affairs for decades, putting the public in a constant state of fear and uncertainly.

Taiwan’s economic situation is not a worry. Built upon strong foundations, it will continue to evolve and grow. For this reason, the KMT’s “100 percent economy, zero percent politics” slogan is putting the cart before the horse and is an exercise in using sophistry to avoid addressing the main problem.

The KMT’s heart is still in China, not Taiwan. In choosing to prioritize the economy above all else, it will eventually run out of road and will be left with nothing more to say.

However, the DPP is a different kettle of fish. It must have the courage to face and deal with the fundamental problems facing the nation.

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