democracy &



Conceding Electoral Defeat, Chairman Chen Shui-bian resigns
President Chen Shui-bian resigned his position as Chair of the Democratic Progressive Party following a press conference in which the DPP conceded defeat in the 7th Legislative elections. Following the first-ever reformed legislative election, which reduced the seats of the Legislature from 225 to 113, the DPP was only able to garner a total of 27 seats. This included 13 seats from direct district contestations, and 14 legislators-at-large based on nation-wide party votes. In total the DPP received 36.9% of party votes (for the legislator-at-large seats). At the press conference Chairman Chen apologized to party supporters and members for the electoral defeat. To show his regret, Chairman Chen took full responsibility for the worst electoral setback in the history of the DPP, and resigned his position as party Chairman. However Chairman Chen expressed his hope and trust in the leadership of presidential candidate Frank Hsieh and urged supporters to self-reflect, but courageously move forward, focusing on a new and bigger challenge for the Presidency in March. At an ad-hoc Central Executive Committee meeting on January 14th, the party confirmed that Frank Hsieh will take the position as acting Chairman for the DPP.



Frank Hsieh Inaugurated as New DPP Chairman
In his inaugural speech as DPP Chairman, Frank Hsieh emphasized the importance of unity within the party, and referred to the March Presidential Election as the ‘last stand’ to protect Taiwan. Chairman Hsieh said his inauguration as the 11th DPP Chairman felt like a repeat of what transpired 21 years ago, when founding Chairman Chiang Peng-chien started a journey with ‘nothing,’ and the DPP could only move forward. The DPP today has seen 20 plus years of work reduced to only 27 seats in the Legislature, becoming a meaningless minority. This, Hsieh added, makes it even more critical for the DPP to fight the ‘last stand’ to protect Taiwan’s future.
Chairman Hsieh recalled that, during the early days of the DPP, Taiwan was dominated by a KMT regime and the voices of the people of Taiwan were underrepresented. Similarly, today Taiwan once again faces the same problem, where the people of Taiwan are once again disproportionately represented, with the Legislature dominated by one party. The reversion towards an abnormal Legislature means that the Presidential election is even more critical to safeguard Taiwan’s status and basic principles. Frank Hsieh added that the DPP has the responsibility to courageously move forward for Taiwan’s sake. Chairman Hsieh said that, “shouldering this responsibility not only means accepting past mistakes but also enduring criticism and attacks by others… however, the important thing is to overcome these obstacles, and unite together.”

Frank Hsieh also said that the recent unequal political developments in the Legislature are a threat to Taiwan’s stability, and that he will continue his promotion of a well-being economy in order for the people of Taiwan to once again regain their confidence, hope, and dignity. Since most townships and counties no longer have DPP legislators, this will result in more chances of abuses and unaccountability. In order to prevent this undemocratic cycle to penetrate society, Chairman Hsieh has requested that legislators-at-large set up offices in districts not represented by DPP legislators, in order to better represent and service the people. Hsieh argued that, despite the electoral setback, it is still the responsibility of the DPP to fully serve the people and to fulfill their expectations. The DPP will offer these legislators-at-large offices technical, financial and personnel support. Additionally Chairman Hsieh also suggested an amnesty program to help low-income families pay their overdue national health insurance fees, a suggestion to which the Executive Yuan responded positively.



Public Housing Plan to Help Taiwan’s Youth
Citing the inability to find affordable housing as one of the greatest challenges facing

Department of International Affairs
Democratic Progressive Party 8F, No. 30, Pei-Ping East Rd. Taipei, Taiwan t. 886-2-23929989 ext. 305-306 f. 886-2-23214527
e-mail: foreign@dpp.org.tw web: http://www.dpp.org.tw

Taiwan’s youth today, Chairman Frank Hsieh unveiled a comprehensive strategy to provide relief for young and disadvantaged people. His youth housing policy advocates the construction on state-owned land of a large number of residential and public housing units on state-owned land, which the government would rent to individuals through a simple once in a lifetime opportunity. The policy stipulates that during the first two years, people above the age of 25 could rent one of these public housing units by paying only 60% of the total market value. They would subsequently pay only 80% for the next two years. Under former KMT Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou, city government inertia exacerbated the housing problem. The KMT Leader failed to comprehend the daily struggles faced by the people, especially by the young people of Taipei. Taiwan’s capital stands out as the most expensive city in the country, and youth are thus unable to achieve happy, quality living.

Director: Bi-Khim Hsiao, MP Principal Deputy Director Dr. I-Chung Lai Editor-In-Chief: Roger Lee Huang Editor: Mike Fonte

Chairman Frank Hsieh remarked that the previous KMT policies, such as those espoused at its “Economic Development Advisory Conference”, are too vague and would move Taipei in the wrong direction. The Central Government has the responsibility to provide an environment that alleviates suffering and makes the pursuit of happiness possible. Everyone has an equal right to happiness, well-being, and social mobility. As President, Mr. Hsieh will give priority to increasing employment opportunities and providing affordable housing. Presently, the population of Taipei is shrinking; last year alone the city lost 14,000 residents. There is little hope for young people, who move to other counties and cities in search of a better life. In addition, Chairman Hsieh also proposed that the government provide interest-free loans to first time home buyers. Other young people could receive low-interest loans to buy homes. The construction of more university dormitories would also help reduce the strain of finding affordable housing for students. Chairman Frank Hsieh emphasized, however, that though he believes that government is responsible to help the youth and the disadvantaged find affordable housing, he is not in favor of government intervention in the real estate market.



Frank Hsieh’s Agricultural Platform

As part of DPP Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh’s concept of a ‘well-being economy,’ he recently presented his agriculture election platform, which includes plans to upgrade the Council of Agriculture into the Ministry of Agriculture. Under Chairman Hsieh’s seven-point rural reconstruction policy, the new Ministry will offer an expanded range of services for farmers, ensuring that farmers’ rights are protected. The 7 main points are as following: 1) Adjusting upward the price ceiling for government purchases of rice. This will ensure price stability thus safeguarding the livelihood of rice farmers; 2) Government guaranteed purchase of 95 percent of surplus agricultural produce, thus ensuring farmers receive fair pay for their work; 3) Implementation of a quality certification system for agricultural produce. This will include the establishment of an agricultural TV channel, thus improving the traceability system and allowing the exchange of information and technology among farmers; 4) Strengthening quality control by establishing a quality examination system for agricultural imports, including those from China; 5) Improvement of facilities and infrastructure, including the development of a transportation network in farming communities and remote areas; 6) Micro-lending programs for agricultural projects, as well as tax exemption for investments in the agricultural industry; 7) The encouragement of young people to return from urban communities to join the agricultural sector. Hsieh’s agrarian reforms will bring happiness and prosperity to farmers, and redress the unfair treatment the farmers endured from the unequal policies implemented by the past KMT regime. Hsieh believes that Taiwan’s economic strength should not be determined only by gross domestic product alone. The well-being of Taiwan’s economy and future should include the establishment of a golden triangle which consists of economic development, along with social justice, and environmental sustainability.



Diplomats Experience Taiwan’s Elections first-hand
A group of Taipei-based diplomats recently participated in a Legislative Electoral Observation tour sponsored by the DPP’s Department of International Affairs. The overnight tour in Kaohsiung included a visit to the campaign headquarters of Legislator Kuo Wen-chen, where dignitaries enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with the father of the legislator and sampled the passion of the people of Southern Taiwan. The evening included Legislator Lee Kun-tse’s campaign rally, which many delegates admitted was a new and refreshing experience. Philip Ellis of the British Trade & Cultural Office said, “As somebody new to Taiwan, it was really interesting to see the way election process is handled here in Taiwan.” Hugues Mignot consultant in Taiwan to the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce concurred and found the trip well organized and interesting. He added that the trip allowed participants to have an ‘excellent grasp on the grassroots democratic process of Taiwan” and that it was ‘remarkable to see how party leaders and staff from the top-level such as the President to local party staff and officials were all engaged in the electoral process, and to see how the party directly appealed to the general population throughout Taiwan.” At Frank Hsieh’s Kaohsiung Presidential Campaign Headquarters, the delegates were greeted by the Secretary-General of the Presidential Office, Yeh Chu-lan, who serves concurrently as the chief campaigner of the Frank Hsieh Presidential Campaign. Yeh announced that Kaohsiung will serve as the home base for Frank Hsieh’s victory march towards the Presidential Palace, citing how Southern Taiwan truly represents the passion and essence of Taiwan. The Electoral Observation Tour concluded with visits to the 2009 Kaohsiung World Games Committee and the new Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System which is set to be opened later this year. The aim of this trip is for Taiwan’s friends and neighbors to truly understand Taiwanese politics, and to develop a more personal understanding of Taiwanese elections and electorates outside of the capital. The DPP has always been a prime mover in the democratization of Taiwan, and wishes to use these trips as a forum for the exchange of ideas and views with the rest of the world.