the KMT and the PFP have flip-flopped repeatedly on the referendum legislation issue. It is disappointing that they have done this merely in consideration of next year's presidential election.
First they criticized the DPP for promoting a referendum, accusing it of promoting independence. They said a referendum would be unconstitutional and would push the country toward annihilation.
Later they decided to usurp the "referendum," "love Taiwan" and "localization" banners. They said they wanted a referendum law enacted this month and a referendum held next month. They also asserted that the unification-independence issue and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue should be resolved together. As they move from opposing referen-dums to supporting them, the opposition parties have not clarified what concepts and ideals might be the basis for their shift.
A referendum law involves the concrete implementation of direct democracy. It is a serious national affair. Political parties should not view this issue as another election strategy.
Political strategists have told the opposition alliance that the Lien-Soong ticket would win next year's election if they could take hold of the "love Taiwan" banner -- supporting referendums including one on unification or independence, opposing "one China," taking a "Taiwan first" stance, etc.
It wouldn't have mattered if the opposition had always supported these policies. The problem is that the KMT and the PFP have long called for a return to the "one China, with each side making its own interpretation" principle or the 1992 consensus.
PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) stated the "constitutional one China" and "one China rooftop" principles. For a long time, the opposition parties have viewed referendum legislation as incremental independence, fearful that it may eventually lead to real independence.
The opposition gave rise to suspicions of self-contradiction in its recent policy u-turn on a referendum on unification or independence. Many commentators have criticized this contradiction, but we have not seen the KMT and the PFP make a thorough explanation.
Both parties are trying to get rid of the "don't love Taiwan" and "sell out Taiwan" labels before the presidential election. That is why they have stumbled repeatedly on the referendum issue.
A political party should have its own core beliefs and values. It should also clearly state these beliefs and values to voters, as well as what policies they will adopt to realize these ideals.
If the KMT and the PFP staunchly oppose independence and believe that Taiwan should unify with China under specific conditions, then they should have the courage to tell voters their platform and their method of implementation.
If these are not the KMT's and PFP's core beliefs, then they should say it clearly and let the voters know exactly how the opposition differs from the DPP on this issue. This is the only upstanding way.
I don't think the KMT and PFP have ever proposed a clear discourse on national sovereignty. At best, they have only proposed the "1992 consensus" or Soong's recent "one China rooftop."
As the prelude to the election campaign begins, many important figures in both parties have been saying that their parties have never advocated "one China." This is bewildering.
Advocating "one China" is not something to be ashamed of, nor would it necessarily cause voters to abandon the advocate. Everything depends on how one explains to voters what is meant by a "one China" policy, the "constitutional one China" or the "one China rooftop."