Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Ma is no cure for the Constitution


Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) recently proposed initiating a "second wave of democratic reforms." He has said he would not amend the Constitution in the first two years of his term if he is elected president, but would use that time to review the system and prepare to make amendments to "build a normal democratic society."

Ma seems to suggest that targeting the seven flawed constitutional amendments since the 1990s. But in reality, they reflect his constant opposition to the path of democratic reform Taiwan has pursued over the past 20 years.

If Ma is elected president and implements his ideas, the sovereignty that are a part of democratic reform will suffer a major blow.

A policy should be judged on its effectiveness, not on superficial elements such as its name or popular appeal.

But many politicians employ lofty slogans meant to inspire dedicated support, even to the point of risking our welfare.

Just like the "third wave of reform" proposed by vice president and KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) in 2000, Ma's reform promises at first sound like a grandiose movement and the only viable path for Taiwan.

But the true goal of his reform plans are to overturn past reforms, putting us back to square one.

This is not a personal attack against Ma. A look at Ma's record over his political career shows that he has often opposed key reforms at critical times. Ma was, for example, against the lifting of martial law and direct presidential elections.

A correspondent for the Yomiuri Shimbun in Hong Kong once said: "In all the countries of Asia I have never seen a more eloquent speaker than Ma. We know that he is defending an unreasonable system, but he does it very skillfully."

A US reporter also said it was obvious Ma uses propaganda to cover up key KMT issues, but it would be difficult for the public not to like him because he is so good at listing endless examples and facts that muddle the issues.

When Ma's words are not convincing enough, he makes up for it with his charm, the journalist said, adding that Ma is a great salesman for the KMT.

It's not an exaggeration to see Ma as the KMT's personal makeup artist for covering the blemishes of the Martial Law era.

Ma the beautician has consistently obstructed reforms in recent years.

So why has he suddenly started advocating democratic reforms? Has Ma become a believer, suddenly inspired by democratic values? Or is this a trick to put the KMT back in the presidential office?

Everyone knows the answer. Ma has criticized all seven constitutional reforms over the past 15 years, saying that each was approved just for the sake of exercise, not because they would improve our democracy.

This is why Ma is waiting and observing.

It is true that the past seven amendments have only scratched the surface of problems with the Constitution. But the solution is certainly not to put aside constitutional issues for the first two years of Ma's term if he is elected president.

The solution should be to gain a deeper understanding of why these amendments have been unable to solve the problems facing the country.

The source of the Constitution's main flaws is simple. The Constitution was drawn up with China in mind -- not legislated -- by lawmakers who propagated for a "greater China."

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