DPP TO ELECT NEW CHAIRPERSON…….

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APRIL 2008

RE-EXAMINATION MEETINGS HELD..........2  YOUNG BLOOD FOR THE DPP...............3-4 NTU VISITS DPP……………..................4 DPP CELEBRATES EARTH DAY…........... 5 

democracy &

A MONTHLY NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED BY THE DPP’S DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

progress

DPP to Elect new Chairperson
The DPP is set to elect a new Chairperson as Frank Hsieh concludes his mandate as the acting 11th term Chairman. The registration for candidacy began on April 14th and concluded on the 18th. A total of 3 candidates are competing for the party’s top seat. Legislator Chai Trong-rong was the first to register his candidacy. Once blacklisted by the KMT government, the DPP veteran has long been involved in Taiwan’s democratic movement. Before his experience as legislator, Dr. Chai taught in universities in the United States and served as founding president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA). He is also well-known for his role in establishing Formosa Television Inc. (FTV), Taiwan’s first non-governmental television network. Former senior presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming was next in line to register to run for the chairmanship. The sprightly 82 year old is the oldest candidate in this contest. Scion of a venerable Taiwanese family, Koo graduated in political science from National Taiwan University, but spent many years in exile in Japan. He was blacklisted by the KMT government for his involvement with the Taiwanese independence movement. Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, chairperson of TaiMed Biologics, was the last to register to compete in the upcoming election. A graduate of Cornell University and of the London School of Economics and Political Science, the former academic has served in numerous government positions under both President Lee Teng-hui and President Chen Shui-bian. Apart from her experience as vice premier, she led the Mainland Affairs Council, and was also a legislator-at-large. The election will be held on May 18th.
From Left to right: Legislator Chai Trong-rong, Former senior presidential advisor Koo Kwang-ming, and Dr. Tsai Ing-wen.

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DEMOCRACY & PROGRESS

DPP Held Series of ‘Re-Examination’ meetings
Responding to Chairman Frank Hsieh’s call to “boldly take responsibility”, the DPP held in April a series of 8 meetings to assess the reasons for the party’s recent electoral defeat and to form consensus on its future direction. The meetings invited a wide spectrum of participants including leading academics, public officials, elected representatives, and civil society. Participants discussed diverse proposals for party reform to be submitted to a special party congress in May. Convened by prominent local leaders, grassroots meetings were held over the weekend of April 12-13 in the cities of Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Taipei. These separate venues allowed local party members across the country to contribute their views on key issues. Speaking at the session in Taipei, Chairman Hsieh emphasized the vital role grassroots activists will play in keeping the future government in check. Hsieh added that he recognized the crucial role of constructive criticism in rebuilding and revitalizing the party. In addition, the party’s Youth Affairs Department organized a “re-examination conference” on April 16 with young supporters and bloggers. Attended by senior party leaders, the conference reflected the DPP’s commitment to involve youths in shaping Taiwan’s political future. During the conference, Chairman Hsieh answered individually the insightful commentary of each speaker and offered his own heartfelt exhortation for young people to step up to the challenge of reforming Taiwan. An expanded conference was held on April 19 in Taipei. Expressing a shared sense of humility and critical self-examination, senior party figures attended in full force. Focusing on three key areas, the meeting examined the performance of the DPP as the governing party in light of the party’s core values, structural adjustment of the party organization, and solutions to future international and domestic challenges to Taiwan and the DPP. The suggestions and consensus reached at these meetings will be further discussed and voted on by the special National Party Congress meeting set on May 4th.

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

Director: Bi-Khim Hsiao Principal Deputy Director: Dr. I-Chung Lai Editor:-In-Chief: Roger Lee Huang Editor: Mike Fonte Intern Writer: Jimmy Hsu

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DEMOCRACY & PROGRESS

Young Blood for the DPP
On April 20th, nearly 100 young people participated in a Kaohsiung City ceremony by officially joining the DPP. Chairman Frank Hsieh was there to witness the ceremony, and thanked the youth for their support. The Democratic Progressive Party has identified youth membership as an important element in the party’s path towards revitalizing and reforming itself.

Hsieh added that he was touched that so many young people are stepping up and joining the DPP at the party’s low point. He added that with this newfound vitality, he is confident that the youth can help the DPP move towards genuine reforms, and shoulder the responsibility of scrutinizing the new KMT government.

Hsieh said that in order for a political party to progress and improve, participation of the young generation is vital. This is precisely why the DPP has passed an amendment which would allow young members who have recently joined the party to participate in the upcoming chairperson election. Youth input is an important factor for DPP reforms, thus it is the desire of the DPP for the youth to participate in the reform program from the start.

The DPP has gone through several incarnations in the last 21 years, from opposition to power, and once again returning to being in the opposition. Thus, at the current stage, it is vital for the DPP to fulfill its role as ‘guardian of democracy and Taiwan,’ to ensure that the DPP dedicate its resources to act as checks and balances on the KMT government.

With the election of the KMT’s Ma, there seem to be rapid developments in cross-strait relationships. This makes it especially important for the DPP to perform its duty as a loyal opposition, and together with Taiwan’s civil society, safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy. Hsieh also suggested that a shadow cabinet could be formed in order to closely monitor the actions of the incoming government.

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In response to a question regarding issues of factionalism within the DPP, Hsieh said, “Increasing participation from incoming youth members could help lead towards the breaking up of factional allegiances and groups, thus leading towards real reforms.”

Hsieh concluded the ceremony saying that the DPP remains a party of diversity with varying opinions and views. This diversity is an asset that the DPP is proud of, thus the DPP will value the various opinions and advice, and through this diversity, renew and reform itself to the expectations of the Taiwanese people.

National Taiwan University Pays Visit to DPP Headquarters
Faculty and students from National Taiwan University paid a visit to the DPP Headquarters on April 15th. The group, consisting of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as student group leaders, were at the headquarters as part of the reform program the DPP has enacted following the recent electoral defeat. The group offered bold suggestions on how to reform the party, and Chairman Hsieh promised to take their advice to heart. He stated that it was essential for youth to join the DPP to inject new blood into the party and give it a fresh start. Chairman Hsieh said that youth possess high ideals and innovative ideas, and that he was delighted that youth so willingly offer their advice to help revitalize the DPP. Hsieh hopes that, in the future, the DPP will continue to allow a platform for youth to interact and exchange ideas, learn more regarding public policies, and make themselves active participants in the DPP’s reform program Chairman Hsieh said that, in the face of the recent setback, the DPP will continue to maintain its values and commitment to ‘democracy’ and ‘progress.’ In addition, the party will continue to work on important social issues including judicial justice, environmental protection, human rights and democracy issues, as well as the implementation of referenda. Hsieh emphasized that as the DPP has always believed in the universal value of referenda, it is a shame that the KMT has vilified past referenda. In the future, he hopes that youth will help the DPP push for a rational public attitude towards the use of referendum.

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DPP Celebrates Earth Day
Celebrating World Earth Day on April 22, DPP government officials vowed to lead national efforts, by their own personal example, to deepen reverence for life on our planet. Among the varied efforts, the Executive Yuan urged all staff to assume responsibility for reducing their personal “carbon footprint” by either walking, cycling, or riding public transport to work. Many ministers responded to the call by walking to their offices. Others contributed by reducing their car escort to the bare minimum. Looking to take Earth care one step further, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung, along with Vice Premier Chiou I-jen and Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun, chose to go vegetarian for the day. In addition, government agencies were asked to turn off lights and to shut down elevators for one hour at midday in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s national “Lights out!” campaign to combat global warming. According to published reports, a similar campaign in 2007 targeting businesses island-wide yielded energy-savings of 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, the equivalent of a 187 ton reduction in carbon emissions. This year’s results should be even better, following recent government efforts to widen involvement to include households. Explaining the urgency of the environmental challenge, Environmental Protection Agency head Winston Dang lamented the fact that while Taiwanese accounted for only 0.35 percent of the human population, we are responsible for 1 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. He promised to increase efforts to draw up comprehensive carbon reduction plans that would put Taiwan in the forefront of the global environmental movement.