President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said she would “take responsibility” for contradicting previous statements that the nation’s president should not also be head of the ruling party, comments she made in criticizing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
“The ongoing and changing political situation” and the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) new position as the majority party in the legislature made it necessary for her to double as president and DPP chairperson, she said at a news conference at the Hsinchu Science Park after she met with semiconductor industry officials.
DPP officials on Wednesday said that Tsai would remain as party leader after her inauguration on May 20, prompting journalists at the news conference to ask her about the shift in her stance.
Taiwan is beset by “comprehensive challenges,” and it would take “an efficient, well-coordinated team” to implement her platform, for which the DPP had made amendments to its party charter, she said.
The DPP charter has been changed to bar Cabinet members from holding positions in party organizations, so that talent and competence, rather than party membership, would be the key factors in picking Cabinet members, she said.
Political appointees in her administration would not be limited by a requirement that Cabinet members must be DPP Central Standing Committee members or even DPP members, guaranteeing her freedom in selecting her Cabinet, Tsai said.
To prevent a situation where “the party’s will trumps the will of the people,” another set of amendments to the DPP charter make the Central Standing Committee more reflective of the will of the electorate by adding DPP local government heads, caucus conveners and public officials to the committee, Tsai said.
The changes to the DPP charter would require substantial coordination with the 13 counties and cities that are led by DPP members and the Legislative Yuan, while “strenuous efforts” would be required to coordinate between the central government and local governments, legislative activities and the Executive Yuan, she said.
“The president doubling as the party chairperson is the most suitable arrangement to coordinate those groups that each represents some portion of the electorate,” she said.
Tsai said that she could “guarantee” that the arrangement of a president from the DPP doubling as the party’s chairperson would not lead to a party that is unaccountable to the public or “ruled by one individual,” because such behavior “is not in the DPP’s tradition.”
The arrangement is simply meant to serve as “a communications platform” for the presidency, she said.
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