Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for the party to pass more progressive reforms and communicate better with the public, as she signed up for the party’s chairmanship election next month.
The DPP cannot be just an opposition party, it needs to reinforce its communication with the public and seek consensus among the majority of Taiwanese to re-establish society’s trust in it, Tsai said.
Tsai is expected to beat former Kaohsiung County deputy commissioner Kuo Tai-lin (郭泰麟) by a landslide after DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) dropped out of the race.
The DPP must set off on the road of social activism and regain the trust of civic organizations, Tsai said, adding that while the party does not necessarily have to take the lead on every issue, it must engage in social activism.
“We must leave behind the established centralized leadership and open ourselves to the dynamism of grassroots movements by giving more power to local party headquarters and the people they represent,” Tsai said.
The former presidential candidate said the DPP should shape its legislative agenda through close collaboration with the public and civic organizations.
To that end, the party must break the generational barrier through measures such as establishing a “digital party headquarters” and organizing youth councils to develop future leaders, Tsai said.
“I hope to expedite the process of reforming the party if elected as chairperson. Moreover, I wish to see a change in generational leadership within the party,” Tsai said.
On the DPP’s cross-strait policies, Tsai said that Taiwan’s interaction with China should adhere to democratic procedures, equality and justice, as well as being subject to legal oversight and including dialogue with society.
With these principles as the base of its cross-strait policy, the party can attempt to forge a consensus with the public on the best way to approach China affairs, she said.
In related news, the DPP has changed the structure of its primary for the Taipei mayoral election later this year, after the party’s election strategy group moved to adopt a two-stage process to choose a representative for the Nov. 29 race.
For the first stage, the DPP is to hold a public poll of its four contenders — former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and DPP legislators Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Pasuya Yao (姚文智). The winner will then contend with the independent candidates: physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and writer Neil Peng (馮光遠).
DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the if the motion is approved by the party’s Central Executive Committee, the first phase could begin by the middle of next month and the next by mid-June.
In response to the DPP’s move, Koo said he is confident that he would win the popularity vote and would be happy to accept the challenge of facing non-DPP members.
He added that how the party mediates the process would be key in how smoothly the primary goes.
Ko said he was not worried about working with the DPP, sayign that the party has its own system and he is willing to let things run its course.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang, Chen Wei-tzu, Tu Chu-yen and staff writer, with CNA