Even though legislation covering elections and recalls does not specifically state whether international observer groups are allowed to monitor elections here, a large budget has been allocated for two or three Taiwanese monitors to be present at every polling station.
While — on the face of it — this is to prevent electoral fraud, it is really done just so that political parties can confirm ballot results.
This opens the Central Election Commission to suspicions from nongovernmental organizations that it is overstepping the boundaries of neutrality it should observe in its implementation of electoral and recall legislation.
Some might contend that including provisions for international observers in electoral and recall legislation is inviting interference from foreign powers.
This is absolutely not the case, as any international observation group compiles an “electoral observer handbook” reflecting the historical, cultural, political and economic factors of the nation in question — as well as other factors, such as that nation’s civic society and political parties.
From national assembly elections and constituent assembly elections to plebiscites on independence and state elections around the world, polls are monitored by international observers from the Carter Center in the US, the European Parliament and the Asia Network for Free Elections.
International observers must follow the 2005 UN Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers when carrying out their work, including: “the systematic, comprehensive and accurate gathering of information concerning the laws, processes and institutions related to the conduct of elections and other factors concerning the overall electoral environment; the impartial and professional analysis of such information; and the drawing of conclusions about the character of electoral processes,” as well as the provision of a report on any problems or shortcomings observed during the course of the election.
The commission has long been a member of international election organizations, such as the Association of Asian Election Authorities, but in terms of reforming Taiwan’s electoral system, election laws, administrative procedures and other supporting measures, it falls short of other Asian nations, such as South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Mongolia.
In response to demands from civic groups to amend electoral legislation to allow international observers in, as happens in these other association member nations, the commission has said that it has never prohibited international observers from coming to monitor elections, and has tried to use the excuse that — due to the international situation — Taiwan is unable to sign either the declaration of principles or the code of conduct.
It has even, on occasion, resorted to saying that it “does not have the funds,” to do so, and that all it can do is to invite these association observer groups in their official capacity to come to monitor the elections.
In the electoral and recall legislation, the problem with including provisions for international observers lies not in the supposed lack of funds, but in the fundamental disregard of the core functions of elections by those in charge, namely, that ballots are free, comprehensive, open, fair and sometimes — when needed — operate as a mechanism for a peaceful transition of political power.
Chen Chien-fu is chairman of the Taiwan Asian Network for Free Elections.
Translated by Paul Cooper
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
South China Sea exercises in July by two United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers reminds that Taiwan’s history since mid-1950, and as a free nation, is intertwined with that of the aircraft carrier. Eventually Taiwan will host aircraft carriers, either those built under its democratic government or those imposed on its territory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). By September 1944, a lack of sufficient carrier airpower and land-based airpower persuaded US Army and Navy leaders to forgo an invasion to wrest Taiwan from Japanese control, thereby sparing Taiwanese considerable wartime destruction. But two
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
As Taiwan is engulfed in worries about Chinese infiltration, news reports have revealed that power inverters made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co are used in the solar panels on the top of the Legislative Yuan’s Zhenjiang House (鎮江會館) on Zhenjiang Street in Taipei. However, what is even more worrying is that Taiwan’s new national electronic identification card (eID) has been subcontracted to the French security firm and eID maker Idemia, which has not only cooperated with the Chinese Public Security Bureau to manufacture eIDs in China, but also makes the new identification cards being issued in Hong Kong. There might be more