Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 8 News List

What is the meaning of `pan-green victory?'

By Hsu Yung-ming 徐永明

A majority win for the pan-green camp in today's legislative elections would be a severe blow to the pan-blue camp, although not as severe as their loss in the March presidential election.

Regardless of whether the pan-blues maintain their current majority, they will -- as pan-blue legislators acknowledge -- have to amend the Constitution to get the right to form their own Cabinet.

Without such an amendment, the legislative elections' outcome won't affect the right to form the Cabinet. The pan-blues are better off resigning themselves to four more years in opposition.

A majority win for the pan-greens would be an unprecedented victory, in terms of expansion in the legislature as well as control over the legislative agenda.

The presidential election gave the DPP political power, but the legislative elections are a benchmark of its social influence.

A pan-green win would affect the future of many leading politicians, and speed up a merger between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party and the New Party. Once washed away by electoral forces, they will face an uncertain future.

However, the support base of the blue and green camps has been changing too fast, and there are motives for jumping ship. Prior to the elections, there have been conflicts over vote-allocation schemes, and voters may or may not follow these schemes.

In a majority win for the pan-greens, the conflict between governing and implementing reforms would become evident, as seen in the issue of changing the national title, and the creation of a new constitution, which both stem from the party's opposition days.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) managed to keep the initiative through last Sunday's pan-blue and pan-green demonstrations, but he must now face two years in which his promises will be scrutinized.

The DPP is now faced with changing the name of state-owned enterprises, and may face repercussions from changing the name of Taiwan's foreign legations. This is why "Rectify the national title" is a good campaign slogan, but raises problems when it comes to implementation.

A pan-green win would resolve the risk of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) becoming just an empty decoration.

Originally, the TSU served as a radical wing of the two mainstream localization parties by joining with the KMT's localization faction under the leadership of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

But this program for the localization of political parties is unworkable now that the DPP has put forward its own candidate for legislative speaker. The new way consists of the TSU persisting in its radical status, applying pressure on the DPP government, playing on the conflict between the DPP's roles as administrator and reformer, and using policy promotion and implementation to increase its political influence. Regardless of whether the TSU wants to play this role, this is where the political vantage point lies.

A majority win for the pan-greens would mean that Beijing could continue to ignore the DPP government and maintain a cold peace in the Taiwan Strait while waiting for a pan-blue return to power.

But during these four years, they will be disturbed by frequent calls for de-sinicization in Taiwan, as well as having to worry about Taiwan's constitutional reform agenda, while the success of China's 20-year development plan will depend on Washington.

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