Mon, Jun 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Tsai Ing-wen gives political advice

BACK-SEAT DRIVING:The former DPP chairperson spoke in an interview about her plans to run a charity and how she thought party and national politics should proceed

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

It would be wise for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to explore more possible candidates in its bid to win the 2014 mayoral election in Taipei, a place of unique electoral demography and for Taiwan to transform its political thought process, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a recent interview.

Set to open a charitable foundation and possibly take a second run at the presidency, Tsai talked about her observations of Taiwanese politics and the younger generation in an interview with published yesterday.

“The media has been focused on only a couple of politicians in the past several years. In a place with an unique electoral demography like Taipei, the DPP should nurture and explore more possible young talents for the constituency in the future,” she said.

Tsai was noncommittal about the much-discussed proposal for “a siege of the central government by local governments,” saying that despite the impact which incumbents have on electoral votes — an advantage of 3 to 5 percent — it would not necessarily be the party’s strategy in the “seven-in-one” elections in 2014.

A similar “siege” in 1997 saw the DPP go from having six local government leaders to 12, which was widely seen as contributing significantly to Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) victory in the presidential election in 2000.

Tsai appeared to be thinking about something of a larger scale than a single election as she observed that the political thought process in Taiwan is in need a fundamental change from a “continental-oriented thought process” to one befitting of an island nation.

Taiwanese politics have inherited the thought process of a continental country from China and have continued that trend as national policy has always been “US-centric,” Tsai said.

A better example for Taiwan to follow is the UK, which is also an island, she added, so it “could avoid those mistakes on policies and government systems in the past and use the new thought process to leverage and formulate its relations with Beijing in the future.”

On the controversy surrounding US beef imports, Tsai said that, before 2000, it had taken Taiwan 10 years to resolve the issue and the current administration “should not deal with the issue from the perspective of domestic politics,” because tackling the dispute requires expertise in international trade and diplomacy.

Tsaid has not been making many public appearances since her defeat in the Jan. 14 presidential election, but is ready to establish her own foundation, which would devote much of its energy and resources to charitable works.

With a provisional title of “Little Ing Educational Foundation” — derived from Tsai’s nickname — the organization, comprised of less than 20 full-time staffers, will be officially established after receiving approval from the Ministry of Education and other agencies.

In a recent meeting with reporters, former finance minister Lin Chuan (林全), the designated chief executive officer of the foundation, said the organization would primarily focus on two areas — charity and public policy.

While Tsai remained tight-lipped about whether she would run in the presidential election four years from now, the foundation seemingly resembles a campaign office, with most of its employees coming from Tsai’s presidential campaign.

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