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Frank Hsieh calls for DPP conference
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-08 03:39 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Premier Frank Hsieh said Tuesday the opposition Democratic Progressive Party should call a party affairs conference to review its actions during the student occupation of the Legislative Yuan.

Opponents of the trade-in-services pact with China entered the Legislative Yuan on March 18 and plan to leave Thursday April 10 as lawmakers were expected to put the passage of an overall framework law about cross-straits negotiations before the pact.

The DPP had made contributions to the result but there were also people who criticized the main opposition party for having been too passive to a degree of having been marginalized, Hsieh said in an online statement.

The DPP’s ability to protect the country had also been called into question, the former premier argued. Hsieh is one of three opposition leaders running for chairman of the DPP in elections originally scheduled for May 25. Incumbent Su Tseng-chang and ex-chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen are his two rivals.

If the DPP had a sense of crisis, then it should convene a party affairs conference where everybody could discuss and evaluate the past events in the open, Hsieh said.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said the party respected the ex-premier’s views, while other leaders emphasized that Wednesday’s regular weekly Central Standing Committee meeting was already planning to discuss the student occupation and its consequences.

DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kun welcomed Hsieh’s suggestion, but cautioned that if the conference remained on the surface and failed to find remedies, it did not need to take place.

DPP lawmaker Lin Shu-fen said the party should consider why its ‘parliamentary route’ had failed while the students had succeeded in winning widespread support for their action. If the party had no way of learning lessons from the student movement and of finding the root of its problems, then the days that it would lose the support of the people were not far away anymore, Lin said.

The DPP had been caught between two fires, fearing that if it intervened too much the student movement would be described as a biased party movement and if it did not do enough, it would be accused of being too distant and aloof, lawmaker Huang Wei-jer reportedly said.

During the student occupation, DPP politicians helped the activists several times, most notably during a counterprotest by labor unions led by former gang leader Chang An-lo. DPP leaders also took part in the March 30 rally, which gathered an estimated 500,000 people in support of the student protest.

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