People have been saying that the vicious power struggle between the pan-blue and pan-green camps has made people care about political stance only, instead of what is right and wrong. They say this disregard for morality is the source of social chaos and should be blamed on political ideology.
However, the appearance of opposing political ideologies in Taiwan is unavoidable. Domestic pro-unification activists keep pushing for Taiwan and China to merge.
Although there is only a small number of them, they are an interest group that controls the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and forms the mightily powerful pan-blue camp. Although most pro-blue voters do not support unification, they are part of the interest group and therefore follow the pro-unification activists.
Another group is opposed to annexation by China and actively fights the pro-unification camp. These are the pro-independence activists, and they have allied themselves with anti-KMT politicians to form the pan-green camp.
There is no equals sign between the unification-independence issue and the blue-green divide, because most pan-green camp supporters also support independence, while only a few of the pan-blue camp support unification.
However, the pro-unification individuals dominate the pan-blue camp. The opposition between the unification and independence camps has led to confrontation, and their ideologies are unlikely to coexist, just as land and aquatic animals cannot live in a shared environment. There is clearly no chance for reconciliation between either the unification and independence camps or the political camps, but if the nation’s political map could be drawn properly, it might relieve the conflict.
The current political conflicts are not a result of the government system, rather they are a result of the formation of the nation’s two-party system. If there were more parties, such disputes would be naturally reduced, since there would be a need to create inter-party coalitions.
The system with two major parties is a result of the legislative electoral system. Before the seventh and latest amendment to the Constitution in June 2005, there were four parties with more than 10 seats each in the legislature — something that could be called a multi-party system.
It was the amendment that created the two-party system by changing the legislative electoral system. In addition, the amendment raised the threshold for constitutional amendments, making it nigh on impossible to carry out any future changes.
Since it is currently not feasible to change the legislative electoral system through another constitutional amendment, the only way to increase the number of seats for small parties in the legislature is to lower the threshold for receiving party subsidies, so that small parties will be able to hold legislative seats, which would help reduce confrontation between the two major parties.
More importantly, Taiwan needs parties that promote environmental protection and ecological conservation. Similar parties in other places around the world that also promote public welfare are smaller parties protected by their governments.
Taiwan should not be an exception — it should lower the threshold for party subsidies to parties that receive at least 1 percent of the total vote, so that, for example, the Green Party will one day have its own legislators.
Unfortunately, the KMT and Democratic Progressive Party, which dominate the political scene, have always suppressed small parties, resulting in confrontations that have become part of the political reality.
Chen Mao-hsiung is a retired National Sun Yat-sen University professor and a member of the Northern Taiwan Society.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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