The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to face an eventful and crucial Year of the Snake as Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) proclaimed a “year of preparedness” during which battles over legislation and election nominations await the party.
On Saturday, Su laid out the DPP’s plan for the lunar year in an internal meeting. It included preparatory work for the seven-in-one local elections next year, in parallel with a recall movement against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as well as a simultaneous efforts from civic movements and the party’s efforts in the legislature.
For Su, who many believe aspires to be the party’s candidate in the 2016 presidential election, the most important task at hand is likely to be success in local elections next year since he would have to step down as chariman, according to the party’s tradition, if the DPP fares badly, putting himself in an unfavorable position to win the presidential nomination.
The chairman said he wished to concentrate on fundamental moves, including establishing policy guidelines for all DPP-governed special municipalities and counties, and a “guardians alliance” of more than 30,000 supporters at the grassroots level who could work at polling stations to monitor voting, before turning to the matter of nominations in the second half of this year.
Regarding the Legislative Yuan, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and DPP director-general Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) unveiled the party’s legislative agenda for the new session, which begins on Feb. 26.
Priorities include an anti-media monopoly bill, revisions to the Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法), the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) and the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), a bill on the promotion of a nuclear-free homeland and the amendment of the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例), which is related to pension reform.
Meanwhile, the 40-member caucus would also focus on monitoring the performance of the new Cabinet to be led by premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), Ker and Tsai said.
Su has no plans to meet with Ma — a suggestion made by some DPP members during the Lunar New Year holiday — for discussions about possible medical parole for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is imprisoned for corruption, because it would be a decision for Ma to make as president, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, adding that such a meeting is unnecessary as Ma still refuses to call a national affairs conference to address problems with his pension reform proposals.
In related news, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a television interview aired during the Lunar New Year holiday that “citizens and civic groups, rather than the government or political parties, would play a leading role in the new era of Taiwanese politics.”
The former DPP presidential candidate reiterated her advocacy for a consociational democracy mechanism, under which she said the national leader or political parties would no longer be able to abuse administrative power or a legislative majority, and would have to engage in dialogue with the public.