Last Sunday's election for the leadership of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) saw a turnout rate of 68.62 percent, the highest level since 1998. However, the 50.47 percent vote share obtained by Su Tseng-chang was the lowest in the DPP's history.
The two figures highlight Su's challenges, which range from intra-party unity and inter-party dialogue to ice breaking with China.
Since the DPP was established in 1986 as Taiwan's first meaningful opposition party, it has never ruled out dialogue with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT). Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, however, missed the chance to lead the DPP toward a transformation. Now that this opportunity has come up for Su, he should deal with it using a positive attitude.
The night Su was elected, President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as chairman of the KMT, rang Su to congratulate him on his victory, breaking the barriers set up by Tsai over the past four years. Su did not immediately turn down Ma's invitation for talks and said he will not evade meeting Ma if it can help enhance the well-being of the nation.
This is the beginning of inter-party reconciliation and the first step toward a new competitive relationship between the ruling and opposition parties. Both Ma and Su should properly prepare the agenda of their meeting and make sure to include only issues that concern the well-being of the people. (Editorial abstract -- May 29, 2012)
(By Y.F. Low)