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Talk of the day -- Protests worry Taiwan's major parties

2014/04/09 18:19:09

The student-led protests against Taiwan's trade-in-services agreement with China have not only dealt a blow to President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, but have also reduced the two major parties -- the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- to trivial roles in the political arena, which is really worrying to the party leaders.

The following are excerpts of local news reports Wednesday about the two parties' views of the crisis.

China Times :

With the protests drawing to an end, some KMT lawmakers believe the worst has passed for the party and that its supporters will stand firm because of the sense of crisis created by the protesters' collaboration with DPP lawmakers.

However, there are other KMT lawmakers who are worried that the party would have difficulty attracting the youth vote in future elections because the KMT's image is now badly tarnished in the eyes of the country's students.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang said that while the DPP views students as a political tool, the KMT sees them as a model of its broad support base.

However, since the KMT does not give the youth any positions of power or groom them for leadership, it is only natural that the party would have little leverage among students groups in a crisis, he said.

Another KMT lawmaker, Tsai Cheng-yuan, said President Ma's administration was to be blamed because it showed poor ability to defend its policies and was totally unconvincing in the face of the criticisms of the trade pact.

Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng expressed the view that the DPP would not gain much politically from the protests since the demonstrators are radical supporters of Taiwan independence who will press the DPP into acknowledging that Taiwan is a separate state from China - a position that would be a bane of any election campaign. (April 9, 2014)

United Daily News:

DPP lawmaker Lin Shu-fen said the protests have exposed the incompetence of her party, which has been a quiet follower and almost invisible in the crisis instead of showing leadership.

Her views were supported by former DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh, who said the party should hold an internal meeting to discuss the lessons to be learned from the protests, if it wants to play a major role in Taiwan's political arena.

The party's chairman Su Tseng-chang is expected to propose to the central standing committee that an ad hoc group be formed to consider reform of the DPP's management as well as the country's Constitution, according to DPP spokesman Chang Dun-han.

Chang said Su will respond positively to the many calls for the DPP to engage in self-examination.

The student-led protests are a reinforcement of Taiwan's democracy, bringing new challenges to the country, and the DPP will meet those challenges in a responsible manner, Chang said. (April 9, 2014)

(By Maubo Chang)

(Click here for a timeline of major developments since the Legislature occupation started March 18.)