Both the ruling party and the opposition have been manipulating procedures to block each other's legislative bills. The pan-blue camp uses its majority in the Procedure Committee to block bills proposed by the Executive Yuan, thereby keeping them out of the legislative agenda. Meanwhile, the green camp retaliates with the "reconsideration" process.
\nThanks to this mutual destruction, none of the bills passed by the Fifth Legislative Yuan since its inception almost a year ago are major public-goods or reform laws.
\nAfter the media criticizes the legislature's fruitless operations, lawmakers from the two sides would start another war of words blaming each other and further ensuring the legislature's status as the source of chaos.
\nThe boycott methods employed by the current opposition camp are neither as dexterous nor fierce as those employed by the DPP before the first full-scale legislative elections in 1992.
\nAt that time, the DPP similarly blocked legislative procedures just for the sake of opposing the ruling KMT, but for doing this the DPP was able to gain the image of a reform advocate.
\nIn contrast, the KMT is now simply viewed as a troublemaker. The reasons behind this are misuse of the methods and the lack of a correct understanding of the political situation.
\nFirst of all, no matter what methods the DPP adopted for resistance, it had a complete set of political concepts and propaganda. Take for example the abolishment of Article 100 of the Criminal Code. The DPP caucus made an announcement clearly stating that it would refuse to negotiate and would reject all budget and legislative bills until Article 100 was abolished. (The article proscribes punishments for dissent and subversion.)
\nAfter that goal was achieved, the DPP caucus immediately showed goodwill and a harmonious atmosphere emerged during that session. The backlog of bills was then cleared. The issues under contention were clearly defined, as were the different layers of strategies. Principles regarding when to stand firm and when to let go were also followed.
\nIn contrast, ever since it became an opposition party more than two years ago, the KMT has uniformly boycotted all bills and policies that have to do with President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) political platform. The KMT does not publicize an all-round set of political concepts, nor does it have any proper alternative proposals. Naturally, the public will feel that the KMT is obstructing the ruling party and opposing everything that has to do with Chen.
\nIn the past, the KMT controlled a majority in the legislature and therefore was still able to push important bills through despite the opposition. The DPP was also able to respond according to the circumstances, making appropriate concessions on some issues and demonstrating a willingness to consider the country's interests.
\nToday, however, the DPP does not have a majority in the legislature, and the Procedure Committee is controlled by the pan-blue camp. As a result, major legislative bills do not even have a chance to be voted upon on the legislative floor. Certainly, one reason for this is the ruling party's mistakes in its governance strategies, but the KMT-controlled Procedure Committee cannot shirk the blame for putting the legislative car in neutral.
\nSome of the bills currently frozen at the Procedure Committee are aimed at implementing Chen's election promises, but there are a larger number of reform bills planned and formulated during the KMT era.
\nThe KMT discussed and listed those bills as important policies when it was in power, but now that political power has changed hands, the KMT is not even giving those bills a chance to be discussed.
\nIt is only right and proper for an opposition party to oppose the ruling party's policies. If the KMT wants to strike down the DPP's policies, it can righteously put them through policy debate and a vote on the legislative floor. Using its head-count advantage in the Procedure Committee to block the Executive Yuan's important reform bills out of the agenda amounts to abuse a loophole in the legislature's internal rules.
\nThe emperor's father
\nThis has made the Procedure Committee something of an emperor's father -- the legislature's overlord. A loophole in the internal rules can deprive important proposals of a chance to be put on the agenda and reviewed. This is deprivation of the right to propose legislation as stipulated in the Constitution. It is also anathema to the democratic procedure.
\nThe results of the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections appear to show that public support for the KMT has stopped falling and started rising again. However, the falling public satisfaction with the DPP's performance does not appear to have translated into support for the KMT. Apparently, the public is disappointed with the DPP but they have are not looking to KMT leadership either.
\n This is a result of the KMT's strategic mistakes in the legislature. If the KMT merely hopes to unify the pan-blue parties and retake power, the pan-blue camp may still split and lose power once again. On the political stage of the legislature, the KMT should play the role of a pillar and help the DPP push through key legislation. Only then can the KMT win back the people's hearts and have a chance to rule the country again.
\nPerhaps the KMT is worried that the passage of important bills will help improve Chen's track record and make it difficult for the party to take back power in 2004. However, Chen's strong performance and a high public approval rating during his Taipei mayorship did not prevent his defeat by Ma Ying-jeou (
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