Tue, Jul 02, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Lawmaker fight hurts democracy

By Chang Hung-lin 張宏林

When dealing with major public policy issues, rational and comprehensive communication is paramount. However, mutual trust between the government and the opposition is at an all-time low.

Legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think that opposition legislators are opposing them for opposition’s sake, while they use their legislative majority to see their policies through to the end, placing the KMT’s goals above all else. In doing so, they are forgetting that legislators should carry out their duties independently and in pursuit of the nation’s best interests.

The opposition parties, on the other hand, feel that their opposition serves to highlight the injustice and unfairness of the government’s behavior and that there is no reason for them to shrink back.

However, seeing the violence play out on our TV screens, we should not be surprised if the public are beginning to doubt the value of democracy.

Legislators may have sustained minor injuries during their clashes, but they are dealing a devastating blow to the public’s view of democracy.

We can only hope that the public will be willing to spend time gaining a rational understanding of each political party’s views, rather than blindly accepting and being loyal to everything their own party says.

That is the only way for Taiwan to become a democracy in which we can discuss and debate policy rather than fight it out.

If we fail in that, there will be no end to the legislature’s extraordinary sessions.

Chang Hung-lin is executive director of Citizen Congress Watch.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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