Fri, Dec 05, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Power is finally in hands of the people

By Lee Min-yung 李敏勇

On Saturday night last week, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) imploded as it suffered its worst electoral defeat ever in the nine-in-one elections.

If we include Taoyuan County, which is to be elevated to special municipality status later this month, the party managed to hold on to only one of the six special municipalities — New Taipei City, where Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) barely managed to scrape by the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, former premier Yu Shyi-kun.

The KMT also lost most of the other counties and cities to the DPP. Someone has aptly described the KMT’s awkward situation by saying that all it has now is the Presidential Office.

The outcome of these elections, which thoroughly changes the control enjoyed by the KMT in the past, is most likely the fruits of the Sunflower movement and a change resulting from the active participation and voting by people below the age of 40. They have shaken the KMT party-state apparatus and revitalized civic rights awareness.

When Eastern Europe was liberated in 1989, the democratic elections that followed in all those countries changed the face of communist rule and restored civic rights to the public.

Social scientists in the West have said that the forces behind this outcome were public common sense, the church, culture and the arts. In the elections on Saturday last week, the revitalization of civic rights once again resulted in rising civic awareness. This is the prelude to the coming collapse of the KMT.

The revitalization of civic rights is the foundation of modern democratic politics. Following World War II, people in Eastern Europe were deprived of their civic rights for four decades, and once these rights were restored communist rule fell apart.

After Taiwan was occupied and ruled by the KMT following World War II, people here were also deprived of their civic rights. The party-state system suppressed this beautiful island and brainwashed the public with its cursed talk about working against or with the communists, all along blocking national development and young people’s future, from the Martial Law era to the present, when the rich and powerful have taken political control.

With the Sunflower movement as a new point of departure, the generation born in the 1980s and later has become the engine behind the revitalization of civic rights, as they have ignited new hope for rebuilding the nation. Calling on each other, they have created a new wave of political awareness that has torn down the KMT wall surrounding the rich and powerful, from the north to the south.

Thanks to this momentum, the generation that became engaged in politics slightly before today’s young generation can now use the power bestowed upon them by citizens to create and follow a new road toward freedom.

The revitalization of civic rights is the cornerstone on which the nation will be rebuilt. The nine-in-one elections were a milestone in Taiwan’s democratic politics, and the politicians thus empowered should treasure the confidence the public has given them and display their support for the movement to revitalize civic rights, which is very different from the old party-state apparatus.

The awakening that follows the removal of party-state fetters, becoming free people and understanding the rights and responsibilities of citizens should become the next social movement.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top