Tsai needs better advisers and more courage: Lee
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-18 05:14 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen needs to strengthen her team of advisers and pick up more courage, former President Lee Teng-hui said Wednesday.

Tsai took office as opposition leader last month after also serving two terms from 2008 to 2012. She is widely predicted to be preparing another run for the presidency in 2016.

In an interview with Chinese-language Wealth Magazine, Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, said Tsai’s first shortage was one of advisers, the second one was one of courage. Courage was a basic value, because if it was absent, nobody would follow, he said, mentioning the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The opposition leader was rational and emotional, but still needed more empathy in order to strengthen her popular support, Lee remarked. President Ma Ying-jeou had no feeling for the daily life of the common man, he added.

Turning to Tsai’s most likely opponent for the presidency in 2016, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu, Lee said he did not know him or his ideas too well.

In the interview with Wealth Magazine, the former president expressed his fears that Taiwan’s democracy and economy were both regressing. The country’s leaders were too autocratic, with local and public opinions unable to be transmitted to the top, he said, advocating the need for a second wave of democratic reforms.

Lee also condemned the Ma Administration’s policies of forging closer economic ties to China. The moves had lead to excessive investment in the communist country, causing an imbalance in wages in Taiwan, a lack in creativity and a loss of productivity. As a result of the government not putting enough restrictions in the way of businesses seeking profit, the public had to bear the negative consequences of liberalization and globalization, the former president said.

Lee expressed his support for the student movement which occupied the Legislative Yuan in March and April as a protest against the ruling Kuomintang’s attempt to cut short a review of the trade-in-services pact with China. He approved their proposal for a national constitutional conference which would hear demands for reform from the public.

Lee also spoke in favor of more referendums to decide on important policies and in favor of less influence from China.

Responding to a question from the magazine whether a presidential or a Cabinet system were more suitable for Taiwan, he replied that a strong but democratic president might still be better placed to push important policies forward.

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