Former presidential secretary-general and premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) yesterday took over the reins of the Democratic Progressive Party and called for the governing party to "make a new start and revive the ideals" that it held so dear when it was founded nearly 20 years ago.
Yu also declared that "integrity, reform and unity" were essential if the DPP is to win the upcoming electoral battle with its "sovereignty and independence" stance against the "hugging China" line of the Kuomintang.
He made the remarks during a brief ceremony held at the DPP's headquarters in Taipei City.
After taking the oath of office, Yu received the seal of office from Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), the interim DPP chairwoman since former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) resigned.
Su, who also attended the ceremony, officially became premier Wednesday.
Many government and political dignitaries attended the event, including President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Premier Su, Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Su Chin-chiang and TSU Secretary-General Lo Chih-ming (羅志明).
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Chinese New Party Chairman Yuk Mu-ming were invited but did not attend.
Ma sent a bouquet of flowers in congratulations to Yu.
Yu said that citizens had given the young DPP the heavy burden of administration, but acknowledged that "we have not repaid the people with a satisfying record of administrative achievement."
"To suffer setbacks is not shameful, but to fail to re-examine oneself after a setback is what is truly shameful," warned Yu, who said that while compromise was inevitable, the DPP "cannot abandon our long-term ideals of struggle for the sake of the short-term needs of administration" or to win elections.
"Only by resolutely upholding the line of bringing the best prosperity to the people and winning based on values and capability will 'winning' have real meaning," Yu said.
Yu said that the future Legislative Yuan election in late 2007 and the next presidential election in March 2008 "will inevitably be a competition between the lines of 'sovereignty and independence' and 'hugging China."'
"Since the DPP sees itself as the core force for Taiwan consciousness and identity, we uphold the right of autonomous choice of our people and uphold democratic deepening and fairness and justice," Yu said.
Yu said that if the DPP was to realize these values and ideals, "we must become more humble, grasp the correct direction and do the correct things."
Yu outlined three directions for the party under his leadership.
First, he said the DPP had to be a "clean and upright party" that could bear examination based on the "highest and most strict standards."
Yu said all important party public officials, including himself, should put their assets in trust and called on the DPP legislative caucus to promote the passage of long-delayed "sunshine" laws.
He also said the DPP must see itself as a "party of reform" and should open up a wider scope of "governance discourse," "use values to lead administration" and serve as a platform between the DPP government team and as a forum to attract "progressive voices" from all parts of society.
Yu said the DPP should expect itself to be a "party of solidarity" and focus on the development of the party and "abandon individual heroism, factionalism and cutthroat struggle."
He said that the DPP should foster a model of "mutual consultation between the party and government and collective decision making" and stressed that administrative directions should be "first discussed and then have conclusions instead of having first resolutions and then disputes."