DPP lost, aimless: Koo Kwang-ming

TOUGH LOVE::The independence activist said he had bit his tongue since the party lost the elections, but now had to break his silence as it had failed to learn from its defeat

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has yet to figure out why it lost this year’s presidential election and remains directionless almost one year later, independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said yesterday.

Koo, one of the most vocal heavyweights in the pro-independence camp, expressed his disappointment with the party in a speech delivered at an event organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

“I waited for almost one year before expressing my views today. Did the DPP conduct a comprehensive review of the election to understand why it lost? From what I’ve seen, the party hasn’t changed and factionalism still dominates its Central Standing Committee,” the 87-year-old said.

Koo also expressed a particular displeasure with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), former party chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in his 90-minute speech.

The DPP cannot possibly hope to regain the people’s trust by waiting for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to fail, Koo said, adding that the DPP’s approval rating remained low despite Ma’s own dismal 13 percent approval figures.

Koo praised Su’s efforts to visit local communities and reconnect with grassroots supporters, but criticized the party headquarters for “taking people’s support for granted and sitting idle amid Ma’s incompetence.”

The DPP should have been more vocal in its efforts to recall the president and amend the Constitution, he told the audience.

Regarding Tsai, Koo said her US affairs campaign team had been understaffed, with DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) serving as the sole aide. The campaign team had underestimated the importance of Tasi’s US visit, the mismanagement of which had significantly hurt her election bid, he said.

Koo said Hsieh’s remarks during his landmark visit to China in October were “inappropriate” and he disagreed with the former premier’s initiative of “one Constitution with different interpretations (憲法各表).”

“The DPP is the only hope Taiwanese have because the Taiwan Solidarity Union remains weak. The DPP has to keep up with the times and reignite people’s passion for politics,” Koo said.

Ma’s low approval rating reflects not only his “incompetence, carelessness and cold-bloodedness,” but also the people’s opposition to his administration, Koo said.

In terms of cross-strait relations, the senior politician said Beijing’s Taiwan strategy “has been a total failure” because anti-China sentiment among Taiwanese has increased.

“I boldly predict that China will not annex Taiwan by force because doing so could place its economy at risk of being hit by international economic sanctions,” he said.