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Tsai Ing-wen: It is time for Taiwan to start all over again
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-20 07:31 PM
Tsai Ing-wen, Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Sunday that leading the DPP is the highest honor imaginable, but it is also a very heavy responsibility. She said the current mood in the party is one of great caution, noting that it feels like the party is "treading on thin ice."

Tsai was speaking Sunday afternoon at the Taipei International Convention Center in the opening session of the 20th National Party Congress, being held under the theme of “On the Road to Reform for Honest and Diligent Government.”

She noted that in the current situation facing the nation, the people are growing increasingly discontented, and their unhappiness is compounded by the fact that those who are in power are incapable of responding to their needs. In fact, said Tsai, in many instances the country’s leaders seem to be deliberately taking up positions counter to public opinion.

As a result the country faces a slew of problems and challenges. The nation's economy has lost momentum; housing, food and living costs are all rising; food safety issues are everywhere; and education policy has gone off the rails and no one knows what to do. In addition, cross-strait relations have become a monopoly in the hands of specific political and business interests, and crimes and crises continue bubbling up over and over.

"The time has come for change," said Tsai. She urged the leaders and members of the DPP to use local talents and resources to change people's lives, and to use the results of effective local governance to win back the trust of the people in politics and in the DPP.

Tsai said if DPP wants to win, it must convince voters that its values are valid and effective. If the people cannot accept the values of the DPP, she said, then even if the party wins elections the victories will all be hollow. If the DPP wins only because the policies and actions of the KMT fail in the eyes of the people, any victory the DPP might achieve will only be temporary. The only way for the party to really win, she noted, is to help lead Taiwan out of the mess that it is now in.

Tsai told attendees at the convention that the DPP is changing – it is attracting more people with stronger dedication and more talent. At the same time, the party must change its inherent make-up to bring it closer to public opinion and the will of the people.

The DPP chair said the party must embark upon a road that will bring it back to power in Taiwan. This means listening to the people and their complaints about lack of leadership and disappointment in the government. It is time to reform, she said, in order to provide a better way of life for people everywhere on the island. 2014 will be a year of change for Taiwan, she said, and the ruling party must be shown that it is time to give others a chance to restart the economy and get the nation on the road to the future.

Tsai noted that in the past the DPP has advocated a number of far-sighted policies that have now have become mainstream concepts in society such as the idea of a nuclear-free homeland and sensible reforms that will help to save the pension system. She said the party must work to further develop and implement these and other ideas that will bring about a better life for everyone.

Tsai exhorted the crowd to go out and work with people who are fed up with and disappointed in a government that is incapable of responding to current crises. She said the party must show them that now is the time for reform.

The people deserve a better life, she said, and they deserve to have a more efficient, more capable government. 2014 is the year for change in Taiwan, she stressed, and “we must give the ruling party a warning that it is time for Taiwan to start all over again.”

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