Fri, Dec 27, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Black gold is a hard habit to break

The Kaohsiung and Taipei city councils' elections for speakers and deputy speakers proves at least two things: First, that the KMT and the PFP are simply beyond redemption when it comes to black gold ties; Second, that while gaining office is typically the beginning of corruption, for the KMT merely holding on to power -- such as in the Taipei mayoral election -- is sufficient to kick start the process of corruption.

The newly elected speaker of the Kaohsiung City Council, Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄), and deputy speaker Tsai Song-hsiung (蔡松雄) are both notorious independent black gold politicians. Chu, in particular, is also charged with vote buying in the city council election.

Only a few days earlier, both the KMT and the PFP were self-righteously criticizing the DPP's city council caucus for deciding to support Chu for the speakership. But as it turned out, of the 25 votes garnered by Chu, the KMT contributed 10 and the PFP 6. This seems a case-book example of a "successful pan-blue alliance."

Rumors of vote-buying for the speaker and deputy speaker elections in Kaohsiung were circulating long before the elections occurred.

So if the KMT and PFP just couldn't bring themselves to vote for the DPP nominees but were sincere about cutting ties with the likes of Chu and Tsai, why didn't they nominate their own candidates? Although blue-camp nominees wouldn't win, that would at least keep pan-blue votes from flowing to Chu and Tsai. Instead, the two parties let their council members decide on their own.

Wehter the conduct of the KMT and PFP in this regard was intentional or not, they have proven their lack of determination and inability to severe ties with black gold.

If it was unintentional, it was probably because all the big shots in both parties were too busy bickering over which would be a better pan-blue presidential ticket -- Lien-Soong, Soong-Lien, or whatever.

If it was intentional, the pan-blue camp probably hoped to elect a speaker and deputy speaker in Kaohsiung who would be able back the pan-blue ticket in the presidential election. So the KMT and PFP chose to make a pact with the devil.

On the part of the DPP, it made a satisfactory save. But, it hardly deserves a pat on the back. It should thank its lucky stars that the party central still had enough sense left to go all out in breaking the alliance with Chu.

Reportedly, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is also the DPP chairman, not only issued a harsh warning about the potential legal consequences of accepting bribes to the newly elected DPP councilmen, but he also personally called the convener of the council caucus to reiterate his point.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) flew down to Kaohsiung to oversee the election. In the end, all 14 DPP council members voted for the DPP candidates nominated at the last minute.

As for the elections in the Taipei City Council, KMT lawmaker Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠) and her PFP colleague Lee Hsin (李新) were elected as speaker and deputy speaker respectively. But the entire election was riddled with undercurrents, most notably the New Party's refusal to support Lee over its own candidate. This can hardly be called successful pan-blue integration.

All this demonstrates that the biggest problem with Taiwan's political parties -- in particular those in the pan-blue camp -- is this obsession over winning "seats" and "offices," rather than doing the right thing. The politicians should remember that they cannot always count on the voters' forgetfulness to save them from their own obsessions.

This story has been viewed 3872 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top