Archive for March 1st, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DPP Nomination Process: Needed Virtues

Unassuming, but with the power to lead: Tsai Ing-wen

Unassuming, but with the power to lead: Tsai Ing-wen (Source: WIKIMEDIA, click on photo).

All we can say today is that, next year, the Taiwanese will have the opportunity to elect a new parliament (Legislative Yuan), and, a few months later, a new president.

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chairwoman, is also the party’s most likely presidential candidate – but the race for the nomination has only started. Former vice-president Anette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced her intention to run for president on Friday.

Tsai met a – probably more serious than Lu – rival in the race for nomination on Sunday. A discussion with former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) who, as had Anette Lu, served in former president Chen Shui-bian‘s administration, reportedly centered around a potential struggle within the party resulting from the upcoming presidential primary, a concern which, according to DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang, had been expressed by many pan-green supporters.

The primaries’ deadline is scheduled on May 4 this year – or earlier, in late April.

If Echo Taiwan‘s references to Anette Lu’s recent statements are correct, the former vice president is unpacking campaigning material of a kind that has offended the Taiwanese public before, for its uselessness in practical politics, and its ludicrous hatemongering.  It would show that Lu stands for many of the things that cost the DPP the presidency in the 2008 elections, and it would suggest that it will cost the party any real chance to replace incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) next year.

Whoever is going to lead the DPP into the presidential elections – and legislative elections – of 2012, he or she will need to rely on the party, and the party will have to stand united. Both Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen appear to be candidates with the potential to rally the party behind themselves. They should avoid damaging each other in the run-up to the nomination in May this year.

Personally, and from my perspective as an outsider, Tsai Ing-wen would appear to be the ideal candidate. She lost the municipal elections in Xinbei in November last year, but led over president Ma Ying-jeou in opinion polls only a week later. Also under her leadership, the DPP did well overall in the municipal elections, which had been held in five municipalities simultaneously, with an overall vote of almost 50 per cent, compared to 44.5 per cent for the KMT.

But what impressed me most, and turned me into a fan of the Mrs Tsai, was her concession speech after the municipal elections, on November 27 last year. She managed to make it both a concession, and a new starting point. In her speech, she spelled out the election campaign strategy she and her fellow DPP candidates had leant on during their campaigns, which focused on the electorate, rather than on blind ideology.

If she herself believes that she can lead Taiwan, she will probably be right – because so far, her judgment has looked convincing, and chances are that no vanity is blinding her judgment.

Chances are that this is exactly what the public wants: politics, rather than showbiz.

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Related
Diplomatic Rock-Bottom: Taiwan’s Stalker-in-Chief, Youtube, 2006

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NPC Delegates comment on Survey: Dreams, drawing closer

[Main Link: Enorth, Tianjin] Several nation-wide websites, Xinhua and sina.com (新浪网) among them, conducted a survey about netizens’ expectations, ahead of the two sessions (lianghui), i. e. the annual sessions of the “legislative” National People’s Congress (全國人民代表大會) and the advisory Chinese People’s Consultative Conference (中国人民政治协商会议). The survey identifies the following five hot issues (五大热点话题) as the most pressing ones:

1. Affordable housing construction (保障性住房建设), 8.08 per cent;
2. a fair distribution of wealth (the “cake of wealth”), rises in income, 7.38 per cent;
3. Price stability, measures against inflation, 6.75 per cent;
4. Stronger levels of punishment in corruption cases, 5.87 per cent;
5. Job creation and more equal opportunities for job-seekers, 5.49 per cent.

Compared with surveys in 2010 and 2009, housing [in general, apparently – JR], income distribution, and anti-corruption have remained areas of most interest among the surveyed, but accelerated construction of affordable housing, price stability, and more equal opportunities for job-seekers have become new hot issues, reports Xinhua (via Enorth, see main link at beginning of post).

Netizens had a choice between a total of 25 topics, reports Xinhua. The report doesn’t state the absolute numbers of participants or votes.

An NPC delegate from Shanghai, Jin Jianzhong (金建忠), is quoted as saying that while the housing prices situation remained severe, but that the central government’s affordable-housing plan suggested ten million new units for 2011, so that the many people without housing could see the dream of a flat of their own draw closer (让众多无房群众看到了保障性住房托起安居梦的希望).

NPC  delegate Li Peigen (李培根) is quoted as saying that in recent years, the voices of the people calling for a rising standard of living had become very loud, and the government had started some pilot projects for reforms and exploration of income distribution. This year, an increase of the threshold for taxable income was under study, which should be of practical benefit for the masses. On price stability, the report quotes a delegate named Xu Jingren (徐境人) as saying that he hoped the government would adopt stronger measures to stabilize prices and to protect the people’s livelihood (保障民生).

Concerning anti-corruption, the report quotes NPC delegate Lü Zhongmei (吕忠梅) as saying that the most important thing in fighting against corruption was to build and strengthen an effective system, while detailing some specific measures further, such as a publication system of [peoples’ or companies’] properties or wealth (财产公示制度), etc..

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Related
Huanqiu Shibao: Reality you can Believe in, January 22, 2011

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