Sat, Apr 09, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Doubts over fortitude of Taiwanese democracy

By Peng Ming-min 彭明敏

Having just returned from overseas, I feel it necessary to share the deep concern about Taiwan’s presidential election that I encountered among many people, including overseas Taiwanese and foreign experts.

They doubt that the presidential election will be held as scheduled and are especially worried that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) may not hand over power should the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) win the election. In a normal, mature democracy, if the government loses, it hands over the reigns of power without a moment’s thought. It then takes on the role of “loyal opposition” and continues to work for the people and the country according to the party’s founding principles.

However, this basic “spirit of fair play” does not exist within the KMT-created system.

When the DPP won the presidential election in 2000, the KMT lost the absolute power it had held for 55 years as a one-party dictatorship. It felt insulted and desperate, and acted as though it might be on the verge of mental breakdown.

The KMT tried to recall and impeach the new president, used its legislative majority to block legislation and organized the “red shirt” protests, turning the political situation into a complete mess, as well as hampering the DPP’s efforts at national political reform.

For eight years, the KMT tasted the bitter fruit of political defeat and this painful experience made the party promise that it would never lose power again. In order to hang on to power, it will resort to any measure, whether legal, illegal, peaceful or violent.

For the KMT, the idea that the DPP could regain power is against the laws of nature and simply inconceivable. The same goes for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which will think of everything it can to trick Taiwanese into believing they are better off having the KMT in power.

For example, China could announce a plan to remove the 2,000 missiles it has aimed at Taiwan, although militarily speaking, this doesn’t really mean anything these days, or it might sign a peace agreement and give Taiwan some economic benefits that may look good, but mean nothing.

For the past three years the KMT has held the presidency and in that time it has shown itself to be clearly not interested in upholding Taiwan’s sovereignty, protecting Taiwan’s security and right to self-determination or improving Taiwan’s democracy, freedom and human rights.

What the KMT has shown is that its main interest is to guarantee its continued hold on power for as long as possible. It is well prepared to do this, as it already controls the judiciary and the media, and is rumored to be in bed with organized crime.

If it does lose the presidential election and if there is a gap of four months until it has to hand over power, it would have ample time to mobilize the unlimited resources at its disposal and its rumored connections to organized crime to cause social unrest.

The large number of Taiwanese political hacks willing to be KMT puppets to serve their own self-interest who are referred to by people overseas that care for Taiwan as “Taiwanese traitors” (taijian), could also easily stir up trouble to cause civic unrest. The KMT could also get help from the countless CCP spies who have long been in Taiwan and even China’s People’s Liberation Army. If this were to happen, the DPP would be unable to take power even if it did emerge victorious in the elections.

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