10/01/2007, 00.00
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Democrats u-turn, no referendum on independence

After protest marches and continuous requests for a new UN seat, President Chen’s party adopts a resolution to return to the status quo. Analysts read a deliberate move to regain moderate votes ahead of March presidential elections.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Taiwan’s Democrats Party yesterday adopted a resolution renouncing its request to formally change the name of the Island,  moving the referendum on independence to an undetermined date and asking for the adoption of a new Constitution “at the soonest opportunity”.


It is a clear u-turn on the policies pursued in the last few weeks, characterised by protest marches and the continuous requests to obtain a new seat at the United Nations.  Analysts read it as a deliberate move to regain moderate votes ahead of March presidential elections in 2008.


The resolution was adopted during the working session of the 12th Party Congress, which, however was not attended by Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, the democrats candidate in upcoming elections.  The politician said his absence was due to ill-health, but his spokesman explained that it was really provoked by “bad feelings” perceived by the candidate among his fellow party members.


The reference regards the former Democrat President, Yu Shyi-kun, who presented a motion to ask the party leaders to return to the hard line and not give in to Chinese pressure.  His intervention was boycotted and a new softer line promoted by president Chen Shuibian prevailed.


According to the new resolution which will be part of the Party programme, “Taiwan and China are not subject to one another”, and “only Beijing’s military threat has blocked the creation of normal relations between the two states”.  Moreover, “the island will use the name Taiwan whenever it decides to present a request for membership of international organisations, but it will hold a referendum on independence at the opportune time”.


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