Wed, Jun 08, 2005 - Page 3 News List

TSU's future in doubt after electoral reforms

COOPERATION OR CONFRONTATION?Some analysts said the party must get along with the DPP to survive but others say going its own way could be a better strategy

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cooperation with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) might be the only way for the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to survive under the new electoral system approved by the National Assembly yesterday, political analysts said yesterday.

"Given that the DPP's votes overlap with the TSU's, I think the best strategy for the TSU at this point is to cooperate with the DPP in line with the TSU's actual strength in each constituency," said presidential advisor Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), who is editor-in-chief of Contemporary Magazine.

"The small parties of the Fifth Republic of France used such a strategy to secure their development, which worked," Chin said.

With the passage of the constitutional amendment, the new "single-member district, two-vote" electoral system will be adopted in 2007. Under this electoral system, small parties will likely be squeezed out by the two big parties since there is only one seat in each constituency.

"The current circumstance for the pan-green camp is that separation will hurt both sides, but cooperation will benefits both sides," Chin said.

The TSU's situation is different from that of the People First Party (PFP), which will inevitably be absorbed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) if it resists merging with the KMT, because the two pan-blue parties's platforms are so similar, he said.

The TSU, by contrast, has its own steadfast supporters who will not convert to the DPP, because of their adherence to a belief in Taiwan's independence and former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) political line, Chin said.

The DPP will also need to collaborate with the TSU given that the "single-member district and two-vote system" is somewhat unfavorable to the DPP, he said.

"How the constituencies are delimited will influence the DPP's mode of cooperation with the TSU," Chin added.

The urgency for the TSU is to settle on a future direction, and decide whether to challenge President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) authority or assist him.

"I don't think the new electoral system foreshadows a dim destiny for small parties," Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a research fellow at the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Academia Sinica. "As long as the TSU figures out its future political line, it still has a chance to become the third-largest party in the legislature."

"But it is time for the TSU to think about where its opportunities are," Hsu said. "It seems that now the TSU has two factions -- one made up of those who have public posts, such as legislators or presidential advisors, and other made up of those who have nothing."

The thinking and action of these two factions is quite different, Hsu said, pointing out that TSU members who have public offices maintain that the party should cooperate with Chen, while the other faction insists on taking a confrontational position against the DPP government.

Hsu said the TSU has to cool down after its outrage over the passage of constitutional amendments and think about whether it should go back to its old stance of supporting Chen's government.

"Lee decided to support Chen before the legislative elections last December," Hsu said. "Looking back at history, the DPP also chose to cooperate with Lee when it was an opposition party to expand its room for growth, which proved to be effective. The TSU might follow the same model and try to work with Chen."

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