Reacting to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) disapproval of the new Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) movement, the proposers of the idea -- the DPP's candidate for the Taipei County commissioner election, Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), and former legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) -- yesterday said that the president's comments might thwart the movement.
Nevertheless, they said they still hoped the DPP could insist on reform, since this was generally expected by the people of Taiwan.
"Good advice always falls hard on the ear," said Luo, who was criticized by Chen to his face on Thursday evening during a meeting with high-ranking DPP officials to discuss remedies for the party's damaged image after a recent trail of corruption allegations.
"But I think the president's opinions are alright and acceptable to me," Luo said.
At the meeting in Taipei Guest House, Chen said that he could identify with the spirit of the new DPP movement and that it was beyond doubt that the DPP needed reform, but he could not agree with the title of the movement.
"The term `new' indicates the existence of `old.' But how do we distinguish between the new and the old in the DPP? Such a differentiation will only cause huge misunderstandings," Chen said.
Chen said that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) experienced a split because of a similar campaign and this should be a lesson for today's DPP members.
The New KMT Alliance (
In reaction to Chen's comments, Luo yesterday said that according to his observations public expectations for reform of the DPP has reached a critical point and the party would rapidly lose support if it fails to deliver concrete results.
"I think there is no reason to stop it [the new DPP movement] as a Pandora's box has been opened," Luo said.
"If the angle and scale of the reforms do not satisfy the public's expectations, they will feel frustrated and will not trust the DPP anymore," he said.
Tuan, who also listened to Chen's views on the new DPP movement, said that the president's remarks were a telling setback to the movement and he was quite surprised at the president's comments.
"As far as I know, the public in general has a positive and affirmative attitude toward the new DPP movement," said Tuan, who is leader of the DPP's New Tide faction.
"The fundamental values that the movement addresses are regaining people's trust of the DPP's integrity and sticking to reform plans," he said.
"I don't think focusing on the name of the movement is meaningful and it would only blur the nature of the movement," Tuan said.
Luo echoed Tuan's opinion, saying that the title was corrigible but that there was no reason to shrink back from the direction the movement was taking.
"The chance [for change] is temporary and the DPP has to seize the moment to prove its resolve to enact reforms and conduct self-investigation," he said.
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