TAIWAN´S ´ILLEGAL´ DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY PERFORMS IMPRESSIVELY IN POLLS

Taiwan
1986-12-10 00:00:00

The two-month-old Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Dec. 6 won 11 of the 84 contested seats in the National Assembly and 12 of the 73 contested seats in the Legislative Yuan.

The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) won 68 seats in the National Assembly and 59 in the Legislative Yuan. Independents won the other seats.

DPP performance was better than expected, observers said, citing its winning about 20 percent of the votes cast for the assembly and legislature.

Twenty-three of the 44 candidates fielded by DPP won -- despite its "illegal" status, little financial support, poor propaganda skills and few party workers and volunteers.

DPP´s "illegal" status stems from its declaration that the people of Taiwan have the right to decide their own future and that "the people on both sides of the Taiwan (Formosa) Strait should engage in peaceful competition on an equal basis."

This declaration runs counter to President Chiang Ching-kuo´s ruling that only parties which respect the constitution, fight communism and oppose the Taiwan independence movement may be officially recognized.

These same observers added that the KMT was able to hold on to the support of many people because of its recent announcements of political reforms, including the lifting of martial law which has been in force 37 years.

But government is expected to enact a National Security Law which would vest in government many of the powers it now enjoys by virtue of martial law.

-- Taiwan´s bishops were unavailable for comment on the election results since they were on retreat.

Monsignor Piero Biggio, minister-counselor at Taipei´s apostolic nunciature, said any comments a bishop might make would be his own personal opinion, not an official Church position.

Jesuit Father Louis Gutheinz, theology professor at Fu Jen Catholic University, criticized some DPP candidates who campaigned like children saying no to their fathers. DPP, he said, "still needs time to mature."

But he was equally critical of Catholic apathy in the elections. "We from Fu Jen Catholic University failed miserably in providing a Christian vision for the whole of Taiwan," he said.

Jesuit Father John Baptist Lun-hsun, National Association of Taiwan-Born Priests president, had no explanation for Catholics´ minimal involvement in politics.

But he acknowledged that under the KMT, Taiwan has enjoyed economic progress and prosperity. He attributed the KMT´s election victory to this fact.

A religious superior who declined to be identified said that DPP, given the number of votes it won, should have had more seats. "They should have had a better strategy," the superior said.

Father Dominic Hsu of Taipei´s Immaculate Conception Cathedral said the election results augured well for an improvement in the people´s welfare.

But he warned that "the opposition should not resort to violence to grasp power because this country is threatened by the communists."

He decried the clash between riot police and DPP supporters Nov. 30 when dissident Hsu Hsin-liang, a United States resident facing sedition charges, tried to return to Taiwan.

END

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