Unveiling his eight reform policies on Sunday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma said it was important to respect and uphold the Constitution and lectured both the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party for focusing too much on elections and not enough on constitutionality.
It is ironic to hear these comments from Ma, for it was under his watch as KMT chairman that the party did much to hinder the functioning of President Chen Shui-bian's (
Maybe Ma needs reminding that it was the KMT that refused to accept the president's nominations for the Control Yuan. As a result, this government watchdog, the brainchild of KMT co-founder Sun Yat-sen (
It was also the KMT that contravened the Budget Law (
In this way, Ma bested his predecessor's efforts at intransigence. Despite his well-known dislike for Chen, to whom he twice lost elections, former KMT chairman Lien Chan (
It is also the KMT that is this week pushing for the amendment of the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (
But the most astonishing thing about this proposal is that it has been presented despite the Council of Grand Justices already ruling that such an arrangement is unconstitutional. A similar process was proposed by the KMT for the selection of members of the National Communications Commission, but the Council of Grand Justices concluded that this would deprive the Cabinet of its constitutional right to appoint officials.
Given all this, how can Ma criticize others for showing a lack of respect for the Constitution?
And if Ma believes that the Constitution does need to be amended -- and his actions suggest that he does -- then he should let the voters know what changes he has in mind, rather than proposing that they wait until two years of a presidential term have passed.
Ma's unwillingness to lay his cards on the table is well-documented, but this "wait and see" approach to the Constitution just eight months out from the presidential election appears to be nothing more than an electioneering tactic aimed at wooing both "deep-blue" supporters and swing voters.
If he hopes to take the helm of this country and try his hand at reshaping our Constitution, Ma would do well to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin, a man not unfamiliar with such documents, who noted that "Well done is better than well said."
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