Taiwan opposition should not feel joy at president’s troubles: Ex-DPP Chairman

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang said Saturday his party should not feel happy about the troubles hitting President Ma Ying-jeou but instead should work towards joining a grand coalition.
In an interview published online Thursday, Hsu said Ma faced a political Armageddon because he was choosing the most unpopular side of every issue. He was dragging his own government into a vicious circle which would lead him to stick with opinion poll ratings around 13 percent, Hsu said.
If Ma wanted to achieve results on sensitive issues like the referendum about the fourth nuclear plant, pension reform, and new talks with China about the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, he needed to look at the opposition and sit down and talk with them, Hsu said. The former opposition leader said that with still three years left, Ma looked more and more in danger of turning into a lame-duck president.
The DPP, which he led in the 1990s before leaving it and returning much later, should not feel happy just because Ma was in trouble, he warned. If the Ma Administration collapsed, the DPP might also feel some of the damage, he added.
He made the suggestion that the opposition party should hold political discussions with China, a sensitive topic within the DPP. Former Chairman Frank Hsieh visited the communist country last year, but his theories about Taiwan’s Republic of China Constitution were not met with widespread support inside the opposition.
Hsu condemned the government’s plans to create free economic model areas around five harbors and one airport, describing them as unilateral concessions to other countries without receiving advantages in return. If Taiwan opened up its economy, it had at least to obtain the same from its trading partners, Hsu said.
In Thursday’s interview, Hsu had also berated Ma for the increasing number of corruption scandals surrounding top members of his Kuomintang. The president was first elected in 2008 partly because of his record as a clean politician.
The detention last week of his KMT office manager, Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ru, on suspicion of accepting bribes from a developer, damaged his reputation. Prosecutors were still investigating the possibility that more city councilors and Taipei City Government officials were involved.