President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was sworn in as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman yesterday, and vowed to lead the party to victory in next year's legislative and presidential elections. He also said he would help make the party's referendum proposals on UN membership and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen party assets a success.
Yesterday marked a new beginning in the DPP's unification and a step toward victory, Chen said, adding that it was his duty to help perpetuate a government that would uphold Taiwan-centered consciousness, freedom, democracy and justice.
Chen said there were many difficulties ahead of next year's elections. He said he was confident the party would win as long as it was united and worked for the common interest of Taiwan.
He also said he believed the Taiwanese would continue to support the DPP and give it another chance to create a brighter future for the country.
As for his seven-month term as party chairman, Chen said that he wished heaven would bless Taiwan and that he would be successful in fighting for the Taiwanese.
His aspirations were simple, he said.
First, he would like to see DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and his running mate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) win in March.
Second, he would like to see the DPP secure at least 50 seats in the January elections.
And third, Chen said that he hoped the party's referendum proposals on joining the UN and recovering the KMT's stolen assets would both succeed.
The March 22 election would be a showdown between "Taiwan's prosperity pairing" and the "one China duo," and a choice between "Taiwan-centered consciousness" and the "great China mentality," Chen said.
It was also a competition between a pair who had been a "five-star" mayor and county commissioner and one "four-star" mayor, he said.
The DPP must win at least 50 seats in the Jan. 12 election, including 15 legislator-at-large seats, he said.
Arguing that it is a democratic norm to hold referendums alongside elections, Chen said the DPP's referendum proposal on joining the UN under the name "Taiwan" was not initiated just for the presidential poll but for the happiness of the 23 million Taiwanese and national sovereignty.
As the DPP is in the second phase of a petition to make the proposal valid, Chen said he hoped the party would be able to collect 2 million signatures by the end of this month.
To reach that goal, the DPP will hold a series of events around the country, beginning today.
The party hopes to collect at least 100,000 signatures a day and reach the 1 million target in 10 days.
China is the main reason that Taiwan is excluded from the international body, Chen said, and the referendum proposal seeking UN membership is to "say no out loud to China's bullying behavior."
In other developments, the DPP's Central Standing Committee yesterday validated Chen's appointment of Su Tseng-chang as the party's honorary chief adviser and former DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun as chief adviser.