Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) defended the possible scenario of her dual role as the party’s presidential candidate and chairman yesterday, saying that “extraordinary measures are necessary in an extraordinary time.”
“Every DPP chairperson has played a different role. For now, a strong and powerful opposition party is needed to steer the country back on the right track. I would say that a tough, determined and powerful leader of the DPP is necessary as well,” Tsai said in a televised debate organized for the DPP chairman election.
Former deputy commissioner of then-Kaohsiung county Kuo Tai-lin (郭泰麟), Tsai’s only opponent in the election to be held on Sunday, repeatedly posed the question in the one-hour debate, saying that it would be better for a chairman to concentrate on their job and not to participate in elections.
The question was likely directed at Tsai, who is favored to win the chairman election and the DPP’s presidential nomination next year.
Tsai categorically rejected Kuo’s concerns.
Citing the example of her dual role as DPP chairperson and candidate in the New Taipei mayoral election in 2010, Tsai said that while she lost the election, the DPP was able to boost its momentum in the special municipality elections and finished well in the total vote share.
In her opening and closing remarks, Tsai reiterated that the DPP must change and embrace a brand new political climate, in which civil society would play as important a role as political parties, so that it would be able to win people’s trust.
Having been marginalized in local politics by the emerging social power in recent years, the DPP would have to regain its open-mindedness and tolerance and to build a partnership with social groups, Tsai said, adding that the party should also engage in a youthful revolution that encourages young politicians to play more important roles.
Tsai laid out four areas the DPP must tackle in the next few years, including reviewing and re-formulating the nation’s economic strategy, reviewing the malfunctioned constitutional system, transforming the cross-strait engagement from quantity-based to quality-based as well as restructuring Taiwan’s government finance and the pension program.
With regards to the issue of nuclear power, Tsai said the party’s vision for a nuclear-free homeland has never changed and her aim for reaching that goal by 2025 was feasible as long as Taiwan devotes itself to develop renewable energy sources, energy saving and energy efficiency.
Kuo touched upon a wide range of topics in his remarks, but did not submit substantial campaign platforms.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) finishes his two-year term on May 28.