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Frank Hsieh: Time is right for transforming the DPP

Frank Hsieh: Time is right for transforming the DPP

Former Premier Frank Hsieh said Wednesday that the Sunflaowers student movement has injected a great deal of energy and enthusiasm into the social and political arenas of Taiwan. For the DPP, he said, this represents a golden window of opportunity to examine the state of the party and see what can be done to strengthen and improve its operations. Hsieh said the window will be open for a period of about a month to a month and a half, and all candidates for party chairman should submit ideas for transformation and reform.

Hsieh said that the tremendous amount of attention lavished on the students during their three-week occupation of the Legislative Yuan may have marginalized the DPP somewhat. He said the party take note of this crisis and hold a "party conference" to openly discuss problems and opportunities in depth.

The DPP Central Standing Committee met Wednesday to discuss constitutional reform, party reform and other issues. Before going into the meeting Hsieh told reporters that the student movement generated a huge amount of social energy that has opened up a window of opportunity, and the party should stop to examine and improve its organization and operations.

Hsieh explained that the most important thing right now for the DPP is to rediscover the enthusiasm that members feel for the party and recover the sense of honor they have felt in belonging to the organization. He warned that many civic groups seemed to have lost a lot of the trust they had in the DPP in the past. This is a grassroots problem that stems from many complex factors, he said, but the biggest problem is that people have lost their sense of honor and enthusiasm.

Hsieh said that the DPP has a lot of work to do now that the student protest movement seems set to go to its next phase. As the largest opposition party in Taiwan, said Hsieh, the DPP must work to ensure the expectations of the people. As for the students, he said they have taken on the role of gatekeepers and guardians of the country's future.

Hsieh said the DPP faces a variety of structural and institutional issues and said that much of the criticism that is directed at President Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT now could well be leveled at the DPP in the future. To avoid that, he warned, the party needs to ask itself some hard questions and find the answers during this opportune moment in time.