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Former premier under fire in DPP chairmanship debate

2012/05/06 20:25:26

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Former Premier Su Tseng-chang came under fire Sunday in the second of three televised debates among candidates vying for the chairmanship of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over his China policy and his decision to run in the Taipei mayoral election of late 2010.

Former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang described a previous remark by Su that he would not rule out exchanges with China as long as Beijing does not have pre-set conditions as "empty words" and accused the former premier of failing to propose a meaningful China policy.

Hsu said in the debate that Su once criticized Washington's China policy as constantly changing but has done nothing, despite Hsu's suggestion that Su should pursue further political studies in the United States and visit American scholars specialized in cross-Taiwan Strait issues.

The reasons behind Su's inability to voice his stance on China issues could be that he does not fully understand cross-strait issues or that he is afraid of causing disputes inside the party, Hsu went on.

In both cases, such a candidate is not qualified to be a DPP chairman or political leader, he added.

Hsu said that Su might be a good county magistrate or premier, but could never be a good DPP chairman or a suitable president of the country.

Another candidate, former DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong, also had the knives out for Su, criticizing him for making the decision to run for Taipei mayor on his own, thereby forcing former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen to run in New Taipei rather than Taipei. The DPP lost the mayoral elections in the two municipalities.

Chai said Su's actions could "mess up" the party's principles and added that anyone who runs in elections without permission from the party should be expelled from the party.

For his part, Su vowed to streamline the party by allowing more participation among party members, living up to society's expectations for the party and giving the DPP a victory in the seven-in-one local elections in 2014.

Meanwhile, former Tainan Magistrate Su Huan-chih expressed support for the idea of levying a capital gains tax, but argued that the revenues collected should be allocated to subsidize social welfare.

The other candidate in the five-way race, former Vice Premier Wu Rong-i, said Tsai remains the best choice to represent the party to run in the 2016 presidential election.

(By Angela Tsai, Emmanuelle Tzeng and Jamie Wang)