Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Grandstanding accomplishes little

There is a Chinese saying that goes, "The trees may prefer to stay calm, but the wind won't stop blow-ing." This is the best description of the nation's political situation. Most people hope that the political conflict can be handled by the judiciary, and that society can return to normal as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the pan-blue camp has insisted on not abiding by the principles of democracy and the rule of law by staging more protests. The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) and the People First Party's (PFP) legislators held a protest at the Legislative Yuan yesterday against an "illegitimate government," yet another example of the pan-blue camp's unclear strategies and wrongheaded tactics.

The pan-blue camp enjoys a slim legislative majority, and it was not surprising that it chose the legislative floor to obstruct the government. However, the performance of the legislative caucuses showed a more disordered logic. Since they agreed to allow Premier Yu Shyi-kun to deliver his administrative report and receive questions, it was strange that they should then threaten to walk out of, or even dismiss, the meeting. In the morning, pan-blue lawmakers yelled "no truth, no president," called the government "illegitimate" and addressed Yu and his Cabinet members as "Mister" or "Miss" -- instead of by their titles -- but then asked them questions in the afternoon. The morning's shenanigans impressed no one.

When the Legislative Yuan's Procedure Committee met a few days ago, a majority of the KMT and PFP legislators agreed to schedule the premier's report for yesterday, along with a question and answer session. Then they turned around and threatened to boycott his report. What does the pan-blue camp really want? Not even they seem to know.

The KMT's high-ranking members are positive about the outcome of the March 20 election recount, ordering each party division to prepare for a possible new election next year. This amounts to disrespect for judicial independence, since the Taiwan High Court has yet to reach a verdict. If the court rules out a new election, the KMT and the PFP will look like fools. Of course, they already made themselves look foolish by first billing a tour by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to rural areas this month as a "campaign for a new election," before switching to calling it "a journey to express gratitude to Lien's supporters."

In choosing either to accept or reject the results of the election that gave the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration a second term, the pan-blues are perfectly within their rights. People outside their camp can have no say in this. But if they have decided to boycott Chen's "illegal government," then they should at least be consistent about it. The two parties should not only try to keep to their jointly-agreed positions, they should also stop changing these positions. Moreover, will scenes of pushing and shoving in the legislature, while gangsters raise a rumpus outside, encourage an increase in votes for the pan-blues or a backlash? The answer should be fairly obvious.

The Democratic Progressive Party is committed to promoting its political achievements in the run-up to the year-end legislative elections, while the pan-blues focus on a superficial boycott in a bid to capture the media spotlight. If they want to take a more constructive approach, they should work toward creating an effective legislative system that can monitor and act as a counterbalance to the executive branch and leave the debate over the election results in the hands of the judicial authorities.

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