Will Frank Hsieh Succeed Su Tseng-chang as Party Chairman?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 1, 2013
Summary: DPP official Albert Wu says that if Su Tseng-chang clings to his "anti-China" path, he will face a severe test next year during the party chairman election. He could be replaced by Frank Hsieh, who continues to "Move Forward."
Full text below:
DPP official Albert Wu says that if Su Tseng-chang clings to his "anti-China" path, he will face a severe test next year during the party chairman election. He could be replaced by Frank Hsieh, who continues to "Move Forward."
Such reports could be true, or they could be media spin control. But they reveals a surging undercurrent. The term for DPP Chairman is two years. Su Tseng-chang was elected last year. His term will expire in May of next year. Last year during party chairman elections, the seven in one elections were approaching. Therefore some proposed that the term for the new party chairman be extended until the seven in one elections are over. But no decision has been reached. If the current situation continues, by this time next year, as Albert Wu noted, it will be time for the election of a new party chairman.
Recently Albert Wu traveled to Pingtan to participate in a "Cross-Strait Relations Seminar." Just before his departure, he said the DPP must break the KMT's cross-Strait monopoly. He said that given the currents of history, if Su Tseng-chang remains "hostile toward Mainland China," then Frank Hsieh will be elected DPP chairman. This "appears to be inevitable."
Former DPP legislator Julian J. Kuo, who also participated in the Pingtan meeting, said the DPP must achieve a breakthrough in cross-Strait relations. But Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang appears to have no desire to do so. "If the China Affairs Committee were led by Frank Hsieh, the current situation would be very different."
Julian Kuo and Albert Wu are controversial figures within the DPP. They may not reflect the thinking of the Democratic Progressive Party leadership. But they do reflect the thinking of the younger generation reformers. Albert Wu said "Su Tseng-chang sees [Mainland] China as an enemy." Julian J. Kuo said "Su Tseng-chang appears to have no desire to make a breakthrough in cross-Strait relations." These remarks had an edge to them. But given the two mens' status within the party, their remarks were not unjustified.
When Su Tseng-chang ran for party chairman. he declared that he would establish a China Affairs Committee and appoint Frank Hsieh chairman. Su Tseng-chang obviously hoped to kill two birds with one stone. One. He hoped to exploit this platform to reform cross-Strait policy. Two. He hope to use this platform to co-opt Frank Hsieh and Tsai Ing-wen, consolidate his power within the party, and his status as the "capo di tutti capi."
Frank Hsieh's response was forthright. He deliberately visited Mainland China in October of last year, and participated in a "bartending convention." Hsieh referred to the committee as a "Cross-Strait Affairs Committee" rather than a "China Affairs Committee." The perception was that Hsieh was waiting to give Su Tseng-chang a boost. The perception was that when Frank Hsieh returned to Taiwan, he would be appointed committee chairman. But as Julian J. Kuo says, "Now the situation is quite different."
Su Tseng-chang reneged on his promise. He reneged on his promise to appoint Frank Hsieh Chairman of the China Affairs Committee, Instead, on November 21 of last year, he appointed himself convener of the committee. He demoted the committee from a decision-making body to a discussion group. Frank Hsieh and Yu Shyi-kun refused to participate. The committee was stillborn. Since then it has been silent for nearly 130 days.
Does this mean Su Tseng-chang's "China Affairs Committee" is already stillborn? It was the only concrete cross-Strait policy commitment made by party chairman Su Tseng-chang. If he has reneged on this, is there any need to mention the others?
Albert Wu said that Su Tseng-chang is "hostile toward Mainland China." But we think a more realistic description would be that Su Tseng-chang has been unable to decide whether to remain "an enemy of [Mainland] China" or to "seek reconciliation with [Mainland] China." We do not believe Su Tseng-chang has the wherewithal to formulate a policy of "enmity with [Mainland] China." The real problem is that he lacks a policy of "reconciliation with [Mainland] China."
Today's domestic political situation, offers the DPP an excellent opportunity to shine. Consider the 4NPP controversy, or the pension funds controversy. Add to it the Lin Yi-shi corruption scandal and the Lai Shu-ju corruption scandal. But party chairman Su Tseng-chang's poll numbers do not shine. He is not even popular within his own party. People do not feel he "represents the future of Taiwan and the future of the DPP." He lacks a cross-Strait policy that offers hope for the DPP, let alone for Taiwan. That is his most serious shortcoming.
The 4NPP controversy and the pension funds controversy mean the Democratic Progressive Party could regain power in 2016. But party chairman Su Tseng-chang could be an obstacle to DPP cross-Strait policy reform. DPP insiders could decide that Su Tseng-chang cannot shed his image as "hostile toward Mainland China." If so, the DPP could look to someone else.
Su Tseng-chang may be thinking that he will overcome the hurdle of 2014 first, then change his cross-Strait policy in 2016. But Su Tseng-chang's hesitation has led to delays. Frank Hsieh was not appointed committee chairman. Will Tsai Ing-wen and her supporters make Frank Hsieh DPP chairman this time next year?
2013.04.01 03:33 am