Sun, Apr 10, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP hopefuls refine platforms

PASSIONATE PLEA:Presidential contender Hsu Hsin-liang, who used to be chairman of the party, called for the doors to be cast wide open to Chinese money and students

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Revealing moments included forgetting to call on Hsu to answer a moderated question and Hsu passionately recalling his past experience as a democracy activist to lend credibility to his remarks. Hsu has been trailing heavily in polls behind Tsai and Su, both of whom he has said would make a “more viable” candidate to represent the DPP.

Tsai and Su struggled when pressed to name more “substantive measures” they would implement to grow Taiwan’s economy. The two called GDP numbers “a flawed indicator of growth.” Taiwan’s economy is expected to grow 6.14 percent this year.

Tsai said a future administration needed more measures to support small to medium-sized enterprises and that economic policy must create better-paying jobs. Farming, she said, needed to become an engine of growth.

In return, Su said that Taiwan’s industry “is vibrant,” but needs more government support, while suggesting that current cross-strait policy has given too much power over Taiwan’s economic policy to Beijing.

“Successful economic policy is seen through the happiness of the Taiwanese people,” he said.

Hsu, meanwhile, called on greater deregulation of Taiwan’s economy, especially to China.

“President Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] was too timid. If he wasn’t so timid, we wouldn’t even be in this race today,” he said. “If he let in 20 million Chinese tourists, we would have all applauded him.”

The two-hour discussion fielded three questions each from academics and former policymakers: former Mainland Affairs Council chairperson Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Taiwan Thinktank chair Chen Po-chih (陳博志) and Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華), a sociology professor at National Chengchi University.

Candidates were not given the opportunity to ask each other questions, a policy that will hold for the three discussions the DPP will hold later this month, on April 13, 16 and 20, which will be broadcast on cable news stations ETTV, Era News and SET TV respectively.

An issue of interest during the session were Tsai and Su’s remarks on the qualities they believed Taiwan’s next leader needed, using the televised opportunity to give themselves a leg up on tightly contested polls by endorsing themselves.

“We have to compare who is best suited to lead the country during an era of rapid global change,” said Tsai, 54, the youngest of the three. “Taiwan needs a next generation leader. The future president must be willing to tackle the difficulties we face.”

However, Su, who was Tsai’s superior as premier between 2006 and 2007, said: “The difficulties Taiwan faces are only becoming greater and the responsibilities facing the future leader of this country are only going to become larger.”

“We need a leader that can take control of our direction,” he said.

Through the proceedings, Su also spoke on his ideas on national restructuring, calling the current division of special municipalities, cities and counties “unequal.” Tsai also unveiled the three main points she called essential to Taiwan’s future: safeguarding sovereignty, economic renewal and a more -harmonious society.

DPP officials called the discussion, which remained cordial and on schedule, “a success.”

“We hope this atmosphere can continue in the three more coming sessions,” DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.

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