Wed, Dec 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Analysts say DPP should pursue working with the PFP

SOCIAL JUSTICE With pundits watching closely what Chen's next move will be, some suggested reaching out to the PFP to tackle the issue of the KMT's stolen party assets

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) resignation yesterday as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), analysts are keenly watching what his next moves will be in response to the string of political challenges emerging from Saturday's elections.

In addition to the need to address turmoil and confusion within the party with regard to its worse-than-expected performance in the election and the realignment of leadership within the DPP, Chen now also has to deal with the challenge posed by a call by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to form a coalition government.

"The time now calls for President Chen's political wisdom," political commentator Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said.

The DPP had a hard landing after Saturday's legislative elections, which upset Chen's plans based on expectations that the pan-green camp would obtain a majority in the new legislature.

Although the DPP remained the largest party in the legislature with 89 seats in the 225-member body, it fell short of its target of winning 101 seats.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), the DPP's small political ally, garnered a mere 12 seats.

With the 79 seats taken by the KMT and the People First Party's (PFP) 34 seats, the opposition pan-blue camp retained its slim majority, grabbing a combined total of 114 seats in the new legislature, which includes the New Party's single seat. The legislators will take office in February.

Analysts said Chen's resignation as DPP chairman would give him an opportunity to rise above party politics.

Noting that Chen has called for unity and reconciliation between parties, Yang suggested that the DPP could seek cooperation with the PFP in the new legislature.

Ruan Ming (阮銘), a visiting professor at Tamkang University, said that Chen should consider reaching out to the PFP.

"For the good of all people in Taiwan, the parties should put their political ideologies aside for the time being and work together to advance the people's well-being in terms of economic developments and other social issues," said Ruan, who is a former special assistant to the late general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Yaoban (胡耀邦).

TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘), however, harbored reservations on the idea of cooperation between the DPP and the PFP.

Stating that similar ideologies and dreams needed to be in place when talking about party cooperation, Chen Chien-ming said that the public would otherwise be left with the impression that cooperation between the DPP and the PFP was just another scenario of divvying up election spoils.

To eliminate such concerns, Yang said that the parties should cooperate under the understanding that they "must carry out substantial work."

Noting that even PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) had more than once voiced complaints about the KMT's party-asset issues, Yang suggested that the passage of the Disposition of Assets Improperly Obtained by Political Parties Law (政黨不當取得財產處理條例) could serve as the first task in which the DPP could work together with the PFP.

"Tackling an issue such as the KMT's ill-gotten party assets, for example, would help construct social justice, which would increase people's confidence that the parties are actually working for the public and are not just there to divvy up election spoils," Yang said.

In order to make Taiwan and its people's interests the top priority, Ruan suggested that issues such as the nomination of candidates for the legislative speakership and policies concerning relations with the US or across the Strait be put on the agenda for cooperation between the DPP and the PFP.

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