Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 8 News List

No matter the system, pan-blues won't win

By Chin Heng-wei金恆煒

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) now favors the establishment of a parliamentary system, a clear indication that the pan-blues no longer believe that they will be able to attain power under the current presidential system.

Casting aside a presidential system in favor of a parliamentary system is now seen by Soong as an opportunity to gain advantage because he believes that the pan-blue superiority in the legislature will allow him to turn defeat into victory.

Is Soong trying to pull a fast one by favoring a parliamentary system? This is the first question.

Putting aside the interminable debate over which system is superior -- will adopting a parliamentary system in fact give an advantage to the pan-blues? This is the second question.

Media reports have suggested that Soong has realized that in the last three direct presidential elections, which have all been winner-takes-all, candidates have been pushed to rash actions in their desperation to win, a problem exacerbated by the lack of judicial and media impartiality. He has described the phenomenon as "Latin Americanization." To counter this, he believes that the only way to resolve the ethnic question and create a stable and peaceful political environment is to adopt a parliamentary system.

This argument is totally incoherent. He has mixed up different issues.

Is this due to a weak intellect or is it the result of focusing on political maneuvering to the exclusion of any proper analysis of the two systems?

In fact, it seems that Soong's only real consideration is expressed in the idea of winner-takes-all. This is because the winner has not been the pan-blues; it is the pan-greens who have taken it all. As a result, the only option left to Soong is to change the rules of the game.

From this it's obvious that the pan-blues have lost all hope of an election victory, and in future elections, the pan-blues will have less and less support, until eventually they have none at all.

Will the pan-blues have an opportunity to revive their fortunes if a parliamentary system is introduced? Or are they overestimating themselves and underestimating their opponents?

In this year's presidential election, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and PFP believed that by working together they could achieve a "second transfer of power." This turned out to be little more than a pipe dream.

The will of the people is not the property of any one party and cannot be held hostage. The 60 percent of the vote obtained by Soong and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in the 2000 elections is not their property, and their belief that "one plus one is greater than two" is pure myth.

Having said this, even if a parliamentary system is adopted, the pan-blues might not be able to get rid of their opposition status. The point is the will of the people; it has nothing to do with the system.

Chin Heng-wei is editor in chief of Contemporary Monthly.

TRANSLATED BY Ian Bartholomew

This story has been viewed 2828 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