Sat, Jan 12, 2013 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Su casts light on DPP’s perspective

As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) prepares to hold its ‘Fury’ mass rally against the government tomorrow, many people in Taiwan and abroad are anxious to learn more about the alternatives the DPP can propose to the President Ma Ying-jeou administration’s policies. ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporters Chris Wang and J. Michael Cole discussed those issues with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang on Thursday

TT: Are you concerned that the DPP’s insistence on democracy, freedom and human rights, and its support of democracy in China, will inevitably lead to cool relations between the DPP and the Chinese Communist Party?

Su: Not at all. China is changing. Beijing now has to respond to the people and netizens. They are talking about the dreams of the Constitution and democracy, the same things we asked for decades ago. My concern is how democracy can be deepened and consolidated in Taiwan so that it doesn’t regress.

That’s why opposing media monopolization is one of the three demands of our protest on Sunday. Elections alone do not consolidate democracy. Democracy also requires freedom of the press. While the media was monitored and oppressed under martial law, the current media concentration is a creation of large corporations. The movement against media monopolization is not an anti-KMT movement. It’s supported by professors, students, professionals and the public, and that’s why the KMT caucus doesn’t dare block the proposal in the legislature.

TT: How do you look at the local elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016?

Su: Winning the elections in 2014 is my most important task as a chairman. That’s why I’m here and why I’ve visited local communities nationwide. We’re talking about more than 12,000 positions up for grabs across the country. We need to have all the preparatory works done this year.

In addition to finding quality candidates, we’re training more than 30,000 ballot examiners who will be deployed at more than 14,000 poll stations to monitor possible “dirty tricks” by the KMT.

As for the 2016 presidential election, we won’t win if we fail to win in 2014. Moreover, winning the presidential election will not be enough. We need a majority in the legislature so that the president won’t be a lame-duck president, which was the case between 2000 and 2008 because the DPP never had a majority in the legislature.

TT: How do you look at the DPP’s lack of grassroots connection in certain cities, counties and regions, more particularly KMT strongholds?

Su: The KMT was in power for more than 60 years in Taiwan and has huge party assets. The DPP has been fighting barehanded an opponent with a machine gun. Consequently, the only fair element in our elections is the actual voting. It’s not been a fair game in terms of resources and campaign processes.

Now, difficult constituencies can change over time. Greater Tainan is considered a DPP stronghold at present, but the DPP lost the commissioner elections in 1985 — Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was the candidate — and again in 1989. It did not win Tainan County [as it was known at the time] until 1993. That same year I lost my re-election bid in Pingtung County, but that was the KMT’s last victory there.

Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli are all difficult constituencies for the DPP, and we need to look into the mirror and ask ourselves why we lost because the DPP has governed Taoyuan and Hsinchu. The last thing the DPP will do is blast the KMT all day and wait for it to fail. That’s why we have asked Ma to organize a national affairs conference and let the country work together to find solutions.

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