Tue, Dec 21, 2004 - Page 9 News List

It's time to enact the popular will in Taiwan

The Taiwanese public have had enough of infighting, backstabbing, sermonizing and filibustering. It's time to join hands and work for the betterment of the nation and all its people

By Lee Chang-kuei李長貴


On Dec. 11, a fierce campaign by Taiwan's four major political parties for a majority in the Legislative Yuan ended. The popular will spoke thus: Of the 225 seats available, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) garnered 89 seats, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) 79 seats, the People's First Party (PFP) 34 seats, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) 12 seats, the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union six seats, independent candidates four seats, and the New Party one seat.

No single party holds a legislative majority. The DPP is still the biggest party, the KMT the second biggest, the PFP the third and the TSU the fourth.

The decision of the people surpasses all else in importance and must be respected. In the absence of a legislative majority for any single party, the government will have to work with either the third or the fourth-largest party to be able to implement policy. The parties can no longer disobey the public's hope for social stability and a harmonious and joyful nation; cooperation and new alliances are essential.

The distribution of seats in the new legislature is almost identical to that elected in 2001. The ranking of political parties in terms of numbers of seats gained is also unchanged: The DPP gained only two seats and the KMT 11, while the PFP lost 12 and the TSU one. The pan-green and pan-blue camps respectively hold 101 and 114 seats.

The dividing line between the two camps is ideologically based. The pan-green and pan-blue camps have polarized and divided to such an extent that the election was reduced to a battle between two different political ideologies. Democratic countries should not play such a zero-sum game on the basis of political ideology so that there is nothing but rivalry between the pan-green and pan-blue camps. The people of this country should not be distinguished and categorized as either "green" or "blue."

The government and opposition parties must not cling to the Machiavellian mentality and concepts of the past. No political party should subsume the popular will. An authoritarian regime has no concept of popular will, while the party, nationalism and other ideological elements are its tools for exercising political power.

The strategies of the pan-green and pan-blue camps were designed to manipulate the will of the people in furthering the interests of the parties -- namely to hold a majority of the seats in the Legislative Yuan.

Manipulative practices must be abandoned, and political parties must not resemble a "crusade-style dictatorship." Political power should not have to be obtained through vote allocation, vote buying or deception. Those who engage in such practices have little respect for the fundamental principles of a political democracy.

Political democracy is about securing a legislative majority through alliances. The merger of two major political parties will give rise to a system of superficial democracy, which engenders disrespect for the minority. Even more importantly, the diversity of the collective social consciousness may also be injured.

Political democracy is about sharing power and distributing power based on the mandate of the popular will. Power must be accompanied by responsibility. Those in power must promise to strive for a harmonious society in which everyone can enjoy happy and prosperous lives. If a small number of politicians treat the diversified popular will as mere tools of their ambition, this will destroy political democracy.

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