To return to power in 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) must address external relations, in particular those with Beijing, and internal competition between factions, according to a report published by the US-based think tank Jamestown Foundation.
To win in 2016, the DPP “must convince voters, Beijing and Washington that a DPP-led government can maintain cross-Strait stability. Second, it must unite behind a presidential candidate after the local and municipal elections in 2014,” said the report by Cristina Garafola, titled Four More Years: The DPP Assesses its 2012 Loss and Looks Ahead to 2016 published on Friday.
“Third, after naming a candidate, the party will need to show what it would strive to accomplish in office; well-defined defense and trade policies as well as a road map to reinvigorate economic growth will be essential,” wrote Garafola, a Master of Arts candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
The article said that the most important task and the main obstacle that the party faced following its loss in the presidential election in January is forging consensus on the party’s approach toward China, with most post-election reviews showing that, while voters were hesitant about the rapid economic integration with China, they were even more unease with the DPP’s vague “Taiwan consensus.”
The DPP’s factionalism seemed to be an unpredictable variable which could affect its election chances in both elections in 2014 and 2016 as tensions between factions rose after January’s election loss, it said.
The article listed the DPP’s four main factions as the New Tide faction and three “personality-based” factions led by former premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), leaving out the group surrounding former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is believed to be aspirant for another run at presidency and seen as Su’s biggest rival.
The 2014 local elections are likely be a barometer for Su’s next move, the think tank said, as Su’s popularity will grow if the DPP does well and he would likely have to step down if the party did not fare well.
In terms of the economy, the report said that there were signs that the DPP would revamp its economic policy by 2016, since Tsai had advocated an economic model driven by domestic innovation and the DPP had submitted an initiative for a “sensible economy.”