DPP elders urged to pass torch to young members


The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) must break up its factions and let the younger generations take control from the elders to cope with the social and political changes in the post-Sunflower era, some DPP members urged yesterday. The DPP is facing pressure from within its ranks for internal reform in the wake of the student-led “Occupy the Legislature” Sunflower Movement, which has exposed the main opposition party’s lack of a sound China policy and its ignorance of the young people’s demands. DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang has admitted that the party needs reforming, but no specific agenda has been set yet. DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin, from the younger generation, said that one of the first necessary changes is that Su should refrain from seeking to renew his term in the upcoming party chairmanship election.

Neither should other party elders, such as Tsai Ing-wen and Frank Hsieh, seek to take control of the DPP, Chao said. It is time for the younger generations to take over the party leadership, which is a necessary step toward breaking up the factions and burying all the conflicts among the elders, he said. The DPP was formed more than 20 years ago by consolidating different forces inside the opposition camp, and therefore factionalism is in the party’s “DNA,” said Chao. Chao said the younger generations have been frustrated by the factional conflicts and the elders’ control of the party. Young members’ voices have often been ignored by those high up in the hierarchy, he added. He said the DPP’s power is “very small” and cannot afford any infighting. Another unnamed DPP member was cited by the Central News Agency as likening the DPP to the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in terms of factionalism and control by elders.

The DPP is aging and inflexible, and it needs reform to differentiate it from the KMT, the member said, adding that it is inevitable that younger generations will take over the DPP sooner or later. DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang said the party must respond to the post-Sunflower changes and increase its contact and interaction with nongovernmental groups.

He said the party’s reform agenda should include discussions on the feasibility of handing over the DPP leadership to the younger generations.

Tsai Ing-wen and Su have both been expected to run in the upcoming DPP chairmanship election, paving their ways to the 2016 presidential poll. But it remains uncertain whether they will change their plans in the wake of the reform calls.