Wed, Mar 26, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: Watching Taiwan's election

Kudos to Taiwan's democratic system, which showed the world the essence of democracy in its 12th presidential election. I am glad that candidates of both sides were able to humbly accept the outcome of the election. I see this election as a victory for the Taiwanese people and the democratic system of this wonderful island, rather than seeing it as a zero sum political battle between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

As a Malaysian, I consistently support the democratic system, which allows the people to decide whom they want to put into office. Taiwan has become a role model in terms of democracy and it must keep this precious value to support democratization in Asia.

I have always hoped that the KMT and the DPP would prove to be equally competent and able to compete with each other healthily. Only with the competence of both sides will the people be able to choose their leaders.

I do not wish to see any side fall apart and let the other side become overwhelmingly strong. It would be frighteningly sad if the voters are left with an overwhelmingly strong side and an incompetently weak side -- this would herald the death of democracy. To put it into baseball terms, I hope that the competition between the KMT and DPP is similar to that of the baseball teams of Taiwan and South Korea. I do not think baseball fans would want to watch a 9-0 game all the time.

I fully understand the feelings of the supporters of both sides. I sincerely hope that they will calm down after all the celebration and tears for the election. For the KMT, it's their opportunity to prove their ruling ability to revive Taiwan's economy amid the fear of the world economy's downward trend; for the DPP, they still have the chance to be in office again, if they are able to rectify their mistakes and work harder to serve the people.

I think more young Taiwanese are colorblind in terms of politics and will only vote for politicians who are able to serve the nation well. The young voters are getting clearer that it's ability that matters.

The Malaysian general election earlier this month, which saw five states fall to the opposition, has clearly indicated that racial politics is gradually fading away (albeit with all the difficulties and at a snail's pace) in Asia. All Asian politicians must bear in mind that it's meritocracy that counts in this globalized era. More people will cast their ballot by evaluating the candidates' ability and accountability rather than basing their decision on which party the candidate belongs to and what their origins are.

Both parties must defend democratic values and stop all the unnecessary political disputes -- Taiwan will improve, but only with a healthy democratic system.

Yeow Boon-kiat

Kuala Lumpur

This presidential election marks a new era, or starting point in the path of Taiwan's democracy, one whose direction will be triangulated by the current revisioning of Taiwan's popular opinion by the KMT and DPP.

The DPP's loss of Kaohsiung City, Tainan City, Taichung County and more than half a million votes from Taipei City and County reveals the public's lack of confidence in and discontentment with the DPP. But this loss is the KMT's gain in that it signifies a return to the 2000 election's 60:40 ratio and a reinstalling of the KMT economic helmsmanship responsible for making Taiwan one of the Asian Tigers.

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