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Talk of the Day -- DPP bigwigs facing internal criticism

2014/04/13 19:29:29

President Ma Ying-jeou and his ruling Kuomintang are widely seen as having been hurt politically by student-led protests against Taiwan's trade-in-services pact with China.

But the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which was ideologically aligned with the protesters, did not fare much better during the tumult and may have difficulty tapping into protesters' discontent with the KMT to broaden its own political base.

Critics have emerged within the DPP who are blaming party bigwigs for being too engaged in their battle to lead the party at the expense of leading opposition forces in Taiwan, consigning the DPP to play only an insignificant role in the protests.

The following are excerpts from local newspapers' coverage of the issue Sunday:

The Apple Daily:

DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin urged DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, and his two predecessors, Tsai Ing-wen and Frank Hsieh, to forsake their bids for party chairman when registration for the May 25 election opens Monday.

Contending that the mainly college-age protesters showed they were tired of the personal infighting between the three DPP heavyweights, which has kept the party divided, Chao said the young generation within the party does not have a political burden and has accumulated the necessary experience and political acumen to take the party's helm.

"It is time for them to pass the torch to the young generation," Chao said, adding that he knew it was foolish to tell party leaders things they did not want to hear but someone within the party had to point out the unpleasant truth.

His remarks were supported by Hung Chih-kun, a member of the DPP Central Executive Committee. Hung said Su and Tsai have engaged in a cutthroat competition for the DPP chairmanship, and neither one wants to see anything good happen to the other.

"If the three (Su, Tsai and Hsieh) cannot put aside their feud against each other and work together, the young will have to get rid of them and move forward," Hung said. (April 13, 2014)

United Daily News:

Chao was not the only DPP lawmaker to raise concerns about the opposition party. DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim warned recently in an article that people who are unhappy with the KMT will not necessarily support the DPP unless it works hard to get their backing.

Because the protests against the trade pact were staged by students, Hsiao said she did not mind that the DPP had not played any significant role in the movement. What she is worried about, she said, is the party's failure to inspire people with new visions for the country and show people a path for Taiwan's development.

Chao's political mentor Frank Hsieh said he was not taken aback by Chao's calls for the big three to pull out of the race for chairman because the idea had been raised by other DPP members in private. But Hsieh did admit to feeling some surprise that Chao did not talk to him about the issue beforehand.

Meanwhile DPP spokesman Chang Dun-han and Tsai Ing-wen's spokesman Hung Yao-fu said they respected different opinions within the party but refused to comment.

(By Maubo Chang)