Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Self-examination could be the cure for the DPP's ills

BY JEWEL HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the year-end local-government elections approaching, the idea of a "new Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) movement" could be interpreted as campaign rhetoric by the party's younger generation, but it also reflects the party's growing internal divisions since taking power, a problem that needs a timely cure, political analysts said.

While responding to voters' questions about the DPP forfeiting its ideals and the government's barely satisfactory performance, the party's candidate for Taipei County commissioner, Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), and former legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), last week proposed the party launch a "new DPP movement." They argued the party should closely examine problems that have developed over the past six years.

Spirit

Luo and Tuan said the DPP has to rekindle its founding spirit and passion, which they claimed has waned since the DPP came to power in 2000.

Both urged President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to adjust the direction of the government's constitutional reform and pay more attention to more urgent issues causing concern among the public, such as social justice and economic development.

"It is apparent that Luo's proposal is made out of campaign considerations, with Luo aiming to highlight his reform image within the DPP and win more neutral voters," Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political analyst and a research fellow at Academia Sinica, said yesterday.

Hsu noted that, according to recent polls, Luo and his opponent, Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) of the KMT, are deadlocked in the race, and this is forcing Luo to make a big gesture in an effort to gain more support.

"Luo's new DPP movement might help differentiate him from the DPP's older generation and increase voter recognition to a certain degree," Hsu said. "Bringing up reform issues will inevitably trigger a series of conflicts within the DPP's factions; whether the movement will be effective remains to be seen," Hsu said.

Although Luo has faced vehement criticism from DPP lawmakers and senior members over his comments, the idea of the "new DPP movement" shows that the DPP is at a point where it needs to look at its political stances and governing policies, Hsu said.

DPP Legislator Wang Tuoh (王拓), who on Monday announced he would withdraw from the Keelung mayoral election, agreed with Hsu's points. He said he felt deeply that the party has been in need of a profound self-examination since taking power.

Internal reform

"To be frank, I think the DPP has to reform itself first if it really wants to conduct reform within the governmental departments," Wang said.

Wang said he had withdrawn from the Keelung race partly because he saw that DPP supporters' passion was flagging, because the government failed once again to fulfill public expectations. He had a hard time arousing people's enthusiasm for the party, he said.

"Some of the government's inappropriate policy-making and inadequate distribution of resources has let our supporters down and made them distrustful of the government," Wang said.

Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine, said that the biggest problem for the DPP is that it has failed to meet public expectations that it would eradicate the party-state system left behind by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Additionally, many old government injustices have not been corrected since the DPP became the ruling party, he said.

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