Sun, Sep 25, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP holds 25th anniversary rally party

SMOOTHING THE EDGES:Tsai Ing-wen said her party would govern Taiwan ‘rationally’ and would change the nation’s politics with style and substance if it is elected

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter, in GREATER TAICHUNG

The Democratic Progressive Party’s top leadership gathers onstage at the opening of the party’s national congress in Greater Taichung yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is not only ready to return to power next year, but is also determined to change the nation’s politics with style and substance, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday in Greater Taichung.

Speaking in an unusually strong tone, Tsai ezuded confidence in her campaign and criticized President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in a speech at the party congress.

“Strong criticism [of the KMT] is not enough for us to win back power,” she said, referring to the January presidential election. “The DPP will strike fear into the KMT, whose biggest fear is an opponent with better policies and that is seen as a more trustworthy party.”

If there is anything that could explain why the campaign atmosphere has been described as worrying to some supporters, that was the reason, according to Tsai.

The DPP presidential candidate is confident her party has a better vision of Taiwan’s future and is more than ready than the KMT to govern with its 10-year policy guidelines.

In addition, the modest, soft-spoken Tsai could very well represent a new style of the DPP, which has long been known for its “roughness.”

“Being rational does not mean being indifferent. Being calm does not mean you don’t hold any sentiments. The DPP is going to be rational and passionate at the same time,” she said.

Taiwanese are facing a difficult time, but they are working as hard as ever, she said.

The government’s China policy, seen by the Ma administration as its crown jewel, did not benefit Taiwanese, Tsai said.

“On top of that, the political prerequisite of the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ and ‘one China with different interpretations’ has created more internal divisions,” she added.

The pro-China Ma administration has made the distance between Taipei and Beijing closer while distancing itself from Taiwanese, Tsai said, adding that an administration that could sell out Taiwan was a great concern.

Tsai said that unlike the so-called “1992 consensus,” which has never had input from the public, her proposed “Taiwan consensus” would initiate a democratic process involving all parties that intends to consolidate Taiwan.

Tsai also made a pitch to the KMT, saying the “Taiwan consensus” could not be achieved without the participation of different political parties.

“Instead of voicing opposition, the KMT will be more than welcome to join the process of building up a Taiwan consensus so Taiwan could face a rising China after the 2012 presidential election,” she said.

Explaining her campaign slogan, “Taiwan NEXT,” Tsai said Taiwanese were able to achieve different historical missions in different periods of time, such as an “economic miracle” in the 1970s and a democratic transformation in the 1980s.

“The historical mission upon us is to achieve fairness and justice. And we will walk toward that goal with consensus and consolidation,” Tsai said.

In an evening rally, former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), mayors Chen Chu (陳菊) of Greater Kaohsiung, Helen Chang (張花冠) of Chiayi County and Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) of Yunlin County endorsed Tsai, saying she would make a good president for her wisdom, moderate approach and determination.

About 10,000 supporters attended the evening rally held at Gancheng Park in Central District (中區), which took place after the party congress, to celebrate the DPP’s 25th anniversary. The rally was the first of many large-scale campaign events to follow for the Tsai campaign.

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