Tue, Aug 01, 2000 - Page 8 News List

The KMT should act like an adult

By Lee Hong-hsi 李鴻禧

Democracy has thrived in Taiwan since 1988, when the despotic rule of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) became history. The opposition DPP has flourished in a short period of time and expanded its political territory. The KMT's chronic problems and sluggish reforms created the need for a transition of power -- which finally came true in May.

The new government formed by the DPP was born after a peaceful transfer of power. This was a big step in Taiwan's democracy. But the power transfer cannot be complete unless the KMT makes a thorough review of its faults and undertakes drastic reforms to win back public support.

The KMT's peaceful return to power would make the "rotation of political parties in power" a normal practice. Only then will Taiwan's democracy be able to catch up with those of other developed countries.

The KMT was defeated in March despite its enormous social, financial and political resources. While people rejoiced over the peaceful transfer of power, they must have worried whether the KMT could recover from its defeat and normalize the rotation of parties by returning to power later.

The KMT was driven out of power because of its bad performance. Since the inauguration of the new government, however, the KMT has had an equally awkward job ibeing an opposition party. The KMT has greatly disappointed people who have been looking forward to its comeback.

The legislature is the most important stage for an opposition party to bring about a power transition by monitoring and questioning the administration. An opposition party's legislative caucus can coordinate its members in policy promotion. In addition, the opposition's lawmakers can use their powers to question government officials and review bills to prevent irregularities.

The opposition party can also outperform the ruling party by putting forward credible policies. If it does these jobs well, an opposition party has a good probability of regaining power the next time around.

To our disappointment, the KMT has not accepted reality and adjusted to its new role as an opposition party. Instead, it has abused its majority status in the legislature -- humiliating new government officials, using its legislative power to pass bills that are difficult to implement, boycotting the policies proposed by the new government, impeding the administration by slashing its budgets, and embarrassing it by triggering a stock market slump with a massive sell-off of its share holdings, and so forth.

All these moves have reflected the KMT's attitude of "opposing for the sake of opposing" and "seeking revenge for the election defeat." The KMT has also disregarded the damage done to the government, the people and the country by their actions.

The KMT's unsettling, repugnant propositions on cross-strait relations have been the most loathsome of all its acts. On July 7, its policy committee (政策會) released a poll which showed that 76 percent of the respondents agreed with Premier Tang Fei (唐飛) on the limited strategic meaning and instrumentality of the Guidelines for National Unification (國統綱領).

After many changes in cross-strait relations, the KMT proposes the codification of the guidelines issued nine years ago. At that time, people had reached no consensus on Taiwan's ultimate political status and there had been serious clashes of opinions before the introduction of the guidelines.

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