Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Public paying for legislative mess

The legislature failed to surprise anyone yesterday when it went into recess after one of the most miserable sessions in its history. The question it has raised for the people of Taiwan is how to sort out the political mess that the legislature has created.

The legislature is a microcosm of the political environment. When the larger political environment is in chaos, the legislature cannot conduct its debates in peace. This session coincided with the presidential election. Prior to the election, the mood between the government and opposition was confrontational, so naturally the legislative process did not proceed smoothly. After the elections, due to the pan-blue contention that the election results were invalid, and that the election itself was invalid, legislators used debates in the legislature to express their opinions on the election, and even used the excuse that they did not recognize the "illegitimate government" of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as an excuse to disrupt the operation of the legislature.

But the pan-blues' position is self-contradictory, with legislators refusing to hear the "illegitimate" premier's report, but then engaging in interpellation sessions in the afternoon. And despite rejecting the inauguration of an "illegitimate" president, they happily approved the appointment of Wu Rong-ming (吳容明), an old friend of People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), to the position of vice-president of the Examination Yuan. Clearly, the pan-blue resistance to the government is selective and its purpose is simply to paralyze the government.

Both sides seem to have lost their common sense due to the current state of confrontation. The opposition simply wants to incapacitate the government, while the government is exerting itself to the utmost in its search for loopholes to escape the normal oversight of the legislative process. The NT$500 billion special budget for infrastructure projects and another for the purchase of advanced weapons have not gone through regular legislative procedures, and neither have the dozen or so bills related to people's rights that have become cannon fodder in the battle between the government and the opposition.

Since his re-election, Chen has abandoned the legislative battlefield, directing his effort at the government's administrative functions. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has always been weak in the legislature, and now that its numbers have been further reduced, it has adopted a defensive posture, maintaining essential administrative functions while putting controversial legislation and special budget allocations on the back burner until after the legislative elections at the end of the year.

If the pan-blues continue their forceful obstruction of bills and budget items, the DPP will bring the issue to the public to accumulate ammunition for the year-end election campaign. If the pan-blues do not want to get tied down by legislative fighting and let these bills and budget items pass, the DPP will also have won. If the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the PFP continue to concentrate their strength in ostentatious legislative boycotts to keep themselves in the media spotlight, they will only be using up their political capital.

Both the ruling and opposition camps have their own political designs, and the result of the confrontation between the two is political unrest and reduced government functionality, the negative results of which are borne by society, which is the ultimate victim of this dispute. Accumulated public anger will become the force driving legislative reform, a force that will manifest itself in the legislative elections.

This story has been viewed 2727 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top