Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) yesterday criticized Premier William Lai (賴清德) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after the DPP’s devastating losses in the nine-in-one local elections on Saturday.
Lai was at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to give an Executive Yuan report on the Puyuma Express derailment on Oct. 21 when Tuan delivered a speech about the administration’s policy failures.
Tuan, wearing a 2016 election campaign jacket, said the DPP had not fulfilled the responsibilities that voters handed to it two years ago, highlighting the negative effects of economic issues and the party’s failure to back referendums that are aligned with its ideals as sources of public discontent.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
“I have done all the party asked of me before the vote. I am only partially surprised by the results,” Tuan said. “There had been signs pointing to the party losing the elections; only the large margin of the losses was surprising.”
While the DPP did tell voters that Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) campaign promises were absurd, it failed to respond to the real causes of their discontent, he said.
“On the night of election day, Lai told the public that he would resign, but did the Cabinet name the sources of the public’s discontent? Did it tell the people that it had heard them?” Tuan asked.
“President Tsai said reforms cannot stop, but they certainly should as we take stock of the policies that have been implemented,” he said
“Have you faced up to the mistakes that were made in the course of the reforms?” Tuan asked Lai.
The DPP took the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) and passed them into law, but the legislation contradicts the DPP’s campaign promise of balancing the interests of workers and employers, and has harmed vulnerable small businesses and workers, Tuan said.
Tsai’s comments that voters are testing the DPP to have a higher standard are wrong, he said, adding that voters have consistently told the party that they are angry about economic and livelihood issues, and that the anger is spreading beyond young voters.
“If we are powerless to solve these problems, did we communicate that to the people? If we are too afraid to admit that certain things are beyond our ability, then what difference is there between Han and us?” he asked.
Many of the votes on the referendums have yielded results that are contrary to the DPP’s values and policies, he said.
“The DPP should have done its best to explain and defend the policies before and after the votes, and not made it seem as if we are pleased with our lot,” he said. “We should have had the courage to publicly debate those referendums that were opposed to our values.”
The Executive Yuan failed to even appoint representatives in the televised debate for the gender equality eduction referendum, Tuan said.
“What kind of administration does that make us?” he asked.
“I ask Premier Lai to think about what responsibilities he has and how best to use what is left of his term to respond to the voice of the people,” he said.
Executive Yuan Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) later yesterday fired back, saying that Tuan should be personally held responsible for accelerating civil servant pension cutbacks and pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“If the party agrees with [Tuan’s] analysis, then he should run for party chairman himself,” Cho said, adding that his comments represent his opinion and not that of the Cabinet.
Tuan responded in a Facebook post, saying his remarks at the legislature were meant as a reminder to both Lai and himself.
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