Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - Page 8 News List


Dreaming of a ‘third party’

Because President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is incompetent, arrogant and without compassion, Taiwan is in bad shape right now and people are complaining.

Because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems to be more interested in engaging in political in-fighting, the checks and balances in Taiwan’s government do not seem to function.

Taiwanese feel the DPP is not doing what the largest opposition party should be doing. They are disappointed and becoming angry.

So, several academics and political activists believe that a third political party is the answer and will be the key to the future of Taiwan (“Third-party politics key to future,” Feb. 14, page 8)

A third party in Taiwan?

Already, there are “third” parties in Taiwan. In addition to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and DPP, there is the People First Party, the New Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union. On top of that, there are close to 100 parties with various political or semi-political purposes in Taiwan today.

Those activists believe that a new political party “means more than just having another option. It also means giving Taiwanese democracy and politics a new lease on life... And it is only when this new force truly becomes an agent of the core values of civil society that it will have sufficient influence to transform democracy and politics in Taiwan.”

Is politics as easy as they think it is? Will a third party really change the course of a nation?

Highly developed and democratic nations such as the US, the UK and France all have third parties. Have these parties ever changed a government in a democratic nation in recent times? If so, in which nation?

In the US, either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party has been in control of government throughout the past 200 years. During this time, there have always been more than 30 other parties, such as the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party and other minor parties. Did any of those third parties ever change the direction of the US?

In England, in addition the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Labor Party, there is also the Democratic Unionist Party, the Scottish National Party, the Social Democratic and Labor Party, the Green Party of England and Wales, the Respect Party, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Scottish Green Party, the Traditional Unionist Voice and the British National Party.

What third party ever altered the course of the UK in recent years?

Does Taiwan really need a new third party?

If so, those academics and politicians have some homework to do: Come up with some more convincing arguments for Taiwanese.

Ken Huang

Murrieta, California

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