Premier Chang declares DPP government a ‘flop’

The China Post staff

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung admitted for the first time yesterday that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government has turned out to be a “flop” after 10 months in office. Nevertheless, Chang was quick to stress that he remains confident of the DPP government’s prospects. “I’m convinced that my Cabinet will perform better based on the foundation built up over the past 10 months,” the premier explained optimistically. Chang made the remarks in response to an interpellation by DPP Legislator Chang Chun-hung during a Legislative Yuan plenary session. Legislator Chang said during his recent round-the-island trip that he found widespread public discontent with the new government. “And DPP supporters’ dissatisfaction has grown to a level that cannot be comprehended by those in high government positions,” the lawmaker warned, adding that the DPP and the government must courageously admit their mistakes and gear up to improve administrative efficiency.

“Otherwise, I don’t think that the local public will wait another year for the government to adjust.” Legislator Chang bluntly asked the premier if he thought that supporting opposition Kuomintang’s Wang Jin-pyng in the Legislative Yuan’s speakership election after the DPP won the presidency last March had hindered the government’s performance. “I personally believe that the DPP’s decision to back Wang’s bid instead of our DPP colleague Shih Ming-teh’s wish to become legislative speaker was a big blunder,” the lawmaker regretted. In his view, the lawmaker said if Shih had been elected as speaker under the support of the DPP and other smaller opposition parties, the DPP government would have had a far more brilliant administrative record, and a higher public approval rating. He went on to say it was rather strange for the DPP to choose to cooperate with the largest opposition party after it took control of the presidency. Accusing Wang of failing to maintain neutrality in Legislative Yuan operations, the lawmaker claimed that Wang has never given support to the DPP government and has instead often aligned with the three-party opposition alliance to undermine the DPP government. Premier Chang made no response to Legislator Chang’s comments. He instead reaffirmed his confidence in smoother government operations and better relations with the legislative branch in the future. Fielding questions from other legislators, the premier said his Cabinet will tender resignation en masse in accordance with the present constitutional provision after the year-end legislative elections. Asked whether he would continue to serve as premier, Chang said that it was President Chen Shui-bian’s decision. While agreeing with some lawmakers’ forecast that no major domestic political party would be able to hold a majority of the seats in the legislative assembly after the year-end elections, Chang still would not answer the question of how the DPP would choose its partner to form a coalition government. Chang just said he is convinced that President Chen would be wise enough to make the best choice for the well-being of the country and the general public. Commenting on Chang’s evaluation of the DPP government’s failure, an unnamed Presidential Office official was quoted by the local press as having said it remains premature to judge whether the DPP government is a success or a flop. But he declined to elaborate. Later in the day, Premier Chang made a clarification in an attempt to limit any possible adverse impact of his “flop” assessment. “What I said at the morning legislative session is the DPP’s decision to cooperate with the KMT in the legislative speakership election after the presidential election last year was a wrong choice,” he explained. The KMT controls a comfortable majority in the legislative assembly, while the DPP holds barely a third of the seats.