Thursday, May 10, 2007

Frank Hsieh's First Challenge: Transitional Justice within the DPP

Frank Hsieh's First Challenge: Transitional Justice within the DPP
United Daily News editorial
translated by Bevin Chu
May 10, 2007

Frank Hsieh has won a major victory in the primary election, and will represent the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in its bid for president in 2008. But now he faces his first major challenge, how to implement transitional justice within his own party.

At this time and place transitional justice within the DPP means negotiating the transition from the Chen Shui-bian Era to the Frank Hsieh Era by reestablishing justice within the DPP.

But even though the Five Princes vowed to uphold party unity the day after the primary, Frank Hsieh's situation within his own party remains precarious. Chen Shui-bian has publicly declared that he "will not be a lame duck, and still has many matters to attend to." This remark was clearly directed at Frank Hsieh, warning him against acting rashly. Su Tseng-chang still occupies the position of prime minister, and surely intends to shield Chen Shui-bian and to check Frank Hsieh. Su and Hsieh became foes during the primary election. If Su continues to control the cabinet, he will remain a thorn in Hsieh's side. Yu Hsi-kuen, who persists in advocating formal independence, remains DPP chairman. Hsieh, who advocates a Conciliation and Coexistence cross-Straits policy, has become a square peg in a round hole. Therefore, even though Frank Hsieh has won the party primary, he now finds himself in the crosshairs of a Chen/Su/Yu trio.

If Su Tseng-chang had won this primary, Su would merely be obediently fulfilling Chen's wishes. Chen and Su would be be as one, and transitional justice would not be an issue. But Frank Hsieh is not Chen Shui-bian's political heir. The gap between his ideology and direction and Chen's is increasing. Naturally transitional justice is going to be problem. The role Chen Shui-bian has assigned Su Tseng-chang is to clean up after Chen, to polish the image of the Chen Shui-bian Era. The role Frank Hsieh has assigned himself is to establish an innovative Frank Hsieh Era. Therefore, the first challenge Frank Hsieh faces is transitional justice within the DPP.

Even after the results of the primary became known, Chen Shui-bian continued lying. He said he maintained neutrality during the primary election, and that since he had never intervened on behalf of Su, Hsieh's win didn't mean that the presidential trump card had lost any of its magic. Chen Shui-bian, for whom lying has long been second nature, has given the public yet another reason to loathe him. This primary was a watershed vote of confidence within the DPP. On the one hand it was a vote of non-confidence in the Chen/Su alliance. On the other hand it was a vote of confidence in the nation's path and cross-Straits policy.

As matters stand, Chen Shui-bian, who lost a vote of confidence, says "I am not a lame duck." Su Tseng-chang, who lost a vote of confidence, remains prime minister. Yu Hsi-kuen,who failed to win the primary, remains DPP party chairman. Frank Hsieh, who won a vote of confidence, finds himself surrounded and under attack by Chen/Su/Yu. What an absurd and dangerous situation.

In both political ideology and political style, Chen and Hsieh are very different people. That is why transitional justice is an issue. Frank Hsieh supports the Resolution on Taiwan's Future and advocates amending the constitution only in accordance with procedures laid out in the constitution. Hsieh's differences with Chen Shui-bian, who is anxious to rewrite the constitution, and Yu Hsi-kuen, who proposes to do away with the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, are obvious. Furthermore, Frank Hsieh's ideas about Conciliation and Coexistence are at odds with Chen Shui-bian's cutthroat political tactics. The most important difference is that Chen Shui-bian's political aim is to use Taiwan independence ideology as cover for massive corruption, and to continue controlling the political scene even after leaving office, whereas Frank Hsieh's declared goals are to become "a president to all the people" and to promote "ethnic coexistence and cross-Straits peace." Chen Shui-bian must ensure that he remains a "power behind the throne" even after leaving office. Frank Hsieh must guard against the possibility of Chen Shui-bian becoming a "king of kings" above him. Chen Shui-bian hopes that the status quo within the DPP, which champions independence, champions Chen, champions graft, remains just as it is, and not be subjected to transitional justice. But Frank Hsieh must implement transitional justice, otherwise he cannot mark the transition from a Chen Shui-bian Era to a Frank Hsieh Era. To sum up, the confrontation between Chen and Hsieh hinges on whether the DPP will implement transitional justice within its own party.

One could say that Frank Hsieh is the person most consciously committed to transitional justice within the DPP in 20 years. He is also the first person to win the system's endorsement and vote of confidence. Others who have advocated transitional justice within the DPP, such as Hsu Hsing-liang , Shih Ming-teh, and Lin Yi-hsiung, were not as fortunate. On May 6, the DPP party primary made Frank Hsieh the party's presidential candidate. It also endorsed transitional justice within the party.

But if Chen Shui-bian, who champions independence as cover for his corruption, is not willing to be a lame duck, if Chen Shui-bian's agent Su Tseng-chang still occupies the Prime Minister's office, if Yu Hsi-kuen, who demands Taiwan independence remains DPP chairman, how is Frank Hsieh to promote transitional justice within the DPP? How will he win over swing voters during the presidential election? Even if he wins the election, he may be held hostage by those who haven't transitioned, in which case, how is he to rule the nation?

The day after the primary, when Chen Shui-bian stood in front of Frank Hsieh and told him to his face that "I am not a lame duck," is the day the struggle over transitional justice within the DPP began.

Original Chinese below:

2007.05.10 03:17 am











No comments: