Wed, Jan 31, 2007 - Page 3 News List

TSU move to center sparks DPP introspection

POLL PLANS DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng said that the TSU's leadership change necessitated a repositioning of DPP candidates to appeal to the entire pan-green camp

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the new chairman of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) is adopting a more moderate political stance, two TSU "allies" within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that they believed the DPP should follow suit.

DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said at a press conference that the DPP's presidential hopefuls should be open to debate about the party's political positioning so as to elect a candidate "who can find a better approach for the entire pan-green camp."

"The prevailing DPP strategy is facing an immediate crisis," he said. "Problems resulting from the president's poor achievements over the past few years and a decline in his popularity have cost us a considerable number of votes."

Cheng estimated that the DPP had lost last month's mayoral elections and the city councilor elections in 2005 by a total of 965,000 votes to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Only by choosing the party's future strategy could the DPP bridge the ballot gap, he said.

Cheng said that the TSU's decision to distance itself from its previous "extreme approach" meant that the DPP stance would be seen as being too radical, a situation for which "President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the party headquarters should be held responsible."

He added that the TSU and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who is considered the TSU's spiritual leader, had shown great flexibility by adjusting their policies to reflect the changing political mood.

"The TSU did the right thing and I believe the DPP is more capable [than the TSU] and should therefore move toward the middle," he said.

Approached by the media yesterday, former DPP legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), who advocated for a "middle approach," said it would be a positive development for the nation "if both the TSU and the DPP were to take the correct approach," without elaborating.

DPP caucus whip Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津), however, said she did not think that the DPP was being too extreme.

She said the TSU's shifting gear only showed that the TSU and Lee Teng-hui had recognized the new "political reality" -- in other words, that it had recognized the difficulties the DPP had encountered as the party in power.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the DPP had always maintained "Taiwan first" and "Taiwan value" as the core aspects of its philosophy.

He did not directly answer a media inquiry as to whether the DPP should change its approach, but said that no matter what the new TSU stance was, it would be impossible for it to depart from a Taiwan-centered approach.

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