Tue, Dec 21, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Nominations key to party relations

In order to minimize future obstacles brought on by a continuation of post-election legislative gridlock, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has put a lot of thought into his Control Yuan nominee selections. He also must be preoccupied with how to deal with the battle over the legislative speakership, the reshuffling of the Cabinet, a successor as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman and other personnel issues.

Chen's Sunday night nomination of 29 candidates for the Control Yuan will be a touchstone for the relationship between the governing and opposition parties following the legislative elections.

In the nomination list of the new 29 Control Yuan members, Chen showed self-control by not nominating anyone from the DPP for the most senior posts. He nominated Clement Chang (張建邦), a senior adviser to the president and a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Central Advisory Committee, as the new president of the Control Yuan; and Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), a non-partisan academic from Academia Sinica and a national policy adviser to the president, as the new vice president. About a fifth of the Control Yuan seats were given to KMT members, revealing that Chen had no intention of making the Control Yuan a pan-green enclave.

The average age of the 29 members is 59.5 years and they hail from a wide variety of professions. One-third are either practicing or academic lawyers; legal backgrounds will be beneficial in the Control Yuan's operation. Female representation has risen to one-third.

The pan-blue camp has criticized Chen's Control Yuan nominations for being made without consulting opposition parties. In fact, the Presidential Office earlier sent out an invitation to the five major political parties asking them to nominate their own candidates, but none of them did.

The most controversial pan-blue criticism of the nomination process has been the presence of Nita Ing (殷琪), chairperson of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. The government finds Ing's performance in public service impartial. But many projects with which Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp is associated will require review by the Control Yuan, and suspicion of a conflict of interest is inevitable.

Chen's selection process has to take into consideration many political factors, especially the legislature's role in confirmation. In 1990, when nominee Chang was forced to resign after suspected involvement with the Hualon scandal, he was found innocent but the damage to his character remains. Other nominees may have strong local connections, but their performance in the Legislative Yuan has been indifferent so their nomination is like a political reward. The use of Control Yuan nominations to reward such people is something the legislature has the right to censure.

As there have been many suggestions that the government hand the current powers of the Control Yuan over to the legislature as part of a move to establish a three-branch system of government, this is very likely to be the last round of Control Yuan nominations ever made. The presidential and legislative elections are now over, and the battle of wills between the government and opposition parties has reached its peak. The balance of power and division of labor between government and opposition is now established. Even if there are some faults with the current list of nominees, the legislature should give serious consideration to each candidate and not reject the list in its totality.

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