Mon, Sep 26, 2011 - Page 8 News List

US should not interfere in elections

By Liu Shih-chung 劉世忠

Although the US administration said it does not take sides in Taiwan’s elections, such ambiguous and inappropriate interference in Taiwan’s domestic politics runs the risk of jeopardizing a fair, open and democratic electoral process in the upcoming elections.

There is no doubt that Washington often plays a pivotal role in influencing public opinion in Taiwan. Former US president George W. Bush’s administration used a series of open statements by high-ranking officials, including former US president George H.W. Bush, to warn the DPP government about the likely dangers of holding referendums prior to the presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. Beijing was no doubt behind the US’ verbal and diplomatic pressures on the Chen administration.

It is therefore not surprising to see some US officials duplicating that strategy to force Tsai to unveil more details about her cross-strait policy or to make clear “strategic reassurances” to Washington as the election approaches.

No matter whether it comes from a lack of internal coordination between different US agencies or if the Obama administration intends to help Ma get re-elected, such moves sabotage Taiwan’s hard-won democracy. The US should be neutral and not intervene in Taiwan’s elections, as well as ensuring a successful transition of power in January were Tsai to win.

Liu Shih-chung is a senior research fellow at the Taipei-based Taiwan Brain Trust.

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