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September 22, 2017

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DPP offers to cancel protest on 3 conditions

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The major opposition party is willing to call off its January mass protest on three conditions, said party leader Su Tseng-chang yesterday.

For months, President Ma Ying-jeou has turned a deaf ear to the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) clarion appeals, said Su yesterday.

Therefore, the DPP is mobilizing island-wide for a "record-setting" protest against Ma on Jan. 13.

Su said that the DPP's high-priority appeals are threefold. The party wants a Cabinet reshuffle to save the economy, and it wants a rejection of the Want Want-Next Media merger. The DPP also wants the president to open a national affairs conference to resolve multiple social and economic crises that face Taiwan, he said.

"Our requests are just these three points. We hope that President Ma is able to assent immediately. If President Ma does so, then we will not take to the streets," said Su.

No Thanks: DPP

Earlier this week, the Presidential Office announced that Ma is willing to reach across party lines by meeting with the opposition party chairman.

"We believe that President Ma's offer lacks sincerity. Even if we met, my requests would be the same," Su said at the DPP's Taipei headquarters yesterday.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said that any Ma-Su meet would be "hyper-politicized."

Moreover, a Ma-Su meet won't adequately address Taiwan's crises. Only a national affairs conference can consolidate views of the community and appropriately resolve complex problems in the national pension and health insurance programs, he said.

If Ma keeps refusing to open a national affairs conference, the DPP may host its own, according to a party official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who was first to propose the national affairs conference, is evaluating the feasibility and usefulness of the project, said the source.

Probation for Premium

Also yesterday, the DPP's Central Standing Committee passed a resolution against the supplementary premium in second-generation National Health Insurance, which came into effect on Jan. 1.

"The premium is ineffective and illegal," said Lin.

The Central Standing Committee has asked the Ma administration to revise the supplementary premium scheme within three months. If the central government is unable to develop solutions, the program should be terminated, said Lin.

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