Judicial reform under the current administration is on the wrong track, because non-interference in some cases and indictments of heavyweight politicians does not constitute reform, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
In an interview published in the -Chinese-language United Evening News, the 54-year-old presidential hopeful talked about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) judicial reforms, the highly publicized indictment of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) as well as her economic policies.
Judicial reforms should start with systematic changes, she said.
“If President Ma’s reforms starts with cases that have political implications, then they are heading in the wrong direction,” Tsai said.
For example, the indictment of Lee, who on Friday was charged with embezzling state funds, gives rise to certain suspicions, she said, adding that opinion polls showed most Taiwanese, particularly in southern parts of the country, felt the move was politically motivated.
Ma “talks about judicial reform and non-interference in specific cases every day, but that does not represent real reform,” she said.
As to whether the Ma administration had adhered to the principle of non-interference in specific cases, “the public will make its own judgment,” Tsai said.
Tsai said she has consistently refrained from discussing judicial cases involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and now Lee because real reform should focus on protecting the rights of ordinary citizens, who tend not to enjoy the support and resources available to politicians.
On rumors that she, too, is implicated in an improper use of state funds case, Tsai said that while she did receive a subsidy for her research at the time, implying she embezzled state funds was a “vicious tactic.”
A national leader should be able to generate the political will and social support to reform the judiciary as well as deal with conflicts of interest and various historical problems, Tsai said.
However, the Ma administration has deliberately shied away from making some much-needed decisions and had remained unaccountable, she said.
Meanwhile, Tsai said she was optimistic the DPP would be able to establish a “clean government,” saying the party had learned from its mistakes when it was in office from 2000 until 2008.
To label the DPP a corrupt party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) uncorrupt would be a “dumbfounding assertion,” she said, as the KMT is much richer and its integrity has continually been questioned.
On economic issues, Tsai, who played a key role in Taiwan’s negotiations with the WTO, expanded on her vision of a “globalized economy” for Taiwan.
The goal, she said, was to develop competitive sectors “with local characteristics,” such as orchid growing and the high-value-added service sector.
“Research and development can also develop into a sector of its own rather than a division controlled by private corporations,” she said, adding that the transformation of Taiwan’s industrial structure could take as long as a decade.
Explaining her campaign slogan “Taiwan NEXT,” Tsai said this stemmed from a determination to ensure the well-being of Taiwan’s next generation and the country’s development over the next 10 years.
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