During the nomination process for its presidential candidate, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had an opportunity to prove it has truly assimilated democratic values, but its behavior yet again reflected its origins as a totalitarian regime.
Since the KMT arrived in Taiwan as exiles from China, there has never been an occasion when more than one candidate has competed for nomination in its presidential primaries.
However, as no high-profile KMT politicians were willing to run — such as KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) or Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) — Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Shiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former department of health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) registered — giving the party an opportunity to choose its nominee via a democratic process.
According to the KMT’s framework for presidential primaries, candidates who register must collect more than 15,000 signatures endorsing their bid, and if more than two candidates achieve that figure, then a second-phase primary is launched. In the second phase, a poll is conducted, with the candidate who receives the most support — as long as a threshold of 30 percent of party members is reached — winning the nomination.
If there is only one candidate, it is sufficient that they collect the requisite number of signatures.
In the KMT’s primary this year, both Hung and Yaung registered for nomination, but only Hung collected enough valid signatures; therefore the KMT could just select her as its official candidate. However, the stumbling block is the “could,” as KMT regulations state that the party can still instigate the second phase of the process by conducting a poll on Hung’s bid among party members, and if Hung fails to win the support of more than 30 percent, she would be eliminated.
In this eventuality, the party leaders would be free to nominate their own candidate directly, with complete disregard for the wishes of grassroots party members.
Politicking such as this might strike some as a little unpleasant. Of course, the KMT wants to see a viable candidate running for president, but when there are a set of rules in place, it should play by them.
At first, it appeared that the KMT had fully incorporated democratic norms, as it prepared to employ a set of regulations that in theory allow any of its members to enter the presidential primary. However, the subsequent development negates this optimism, as it indicates that the party elite is trying to use the primary regulations to eliminate a candidate they consider “not strong enough” to compete with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
This is a surprising move, because Hung is not an irrelevant figure within the party: She has served eight terms in the legislature and is the first female deputy legislative speaker in the nation’s history. Surely she is “somebody” in the party and she has every right to run in the presidential election on the KMT ticket.
Intentionally blocking a party member who has gone though the required process to gain nomination would simply be undemocratic. The KMT might say that the DPP did not make its nomination through a democratic process: Tsai’s nomination was the result of negotiations within the party. However, that has no bearing on the current situation, because it is not wrong for a party to choose its own candidate according to its process, but it would be wrong for a party to try to prevent a candidate from running after they fulfilled all the requirements and followed due process.
Apparently the KMT has not learned how to apply democratic values to its internal affairs; although Martial Law ended nearly 30 years ago, the authoritarian expression of power remains deeply imprinted on the party elite.
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
As a person raised in a family that revered the teachings of Confucius (孔子) and Mencius (孟子), I believe that both sages would agree with Hong Kong students that people-based politics is the only legitimate way to govern China, including Hong Kong. More than two millennia ago, Confucius insisted that a leader’s first loyalty is to his people — they are water to the leader’s ship. Confucius said that the water could let the ship float only if it sailed in accordance with the will of the water. If the ship sailed against the will of the water, the ship would sink. Two
This year, India and Taiwan can look back on 25 years of so-called unofficial ties. This provides an occasion to ponder over how they can deepen collaboration and strengthen their relations. This reflection must be free from excitement and agitation caused by the ongoing China-US great power jostling as well as China’s aggressive actions against many of its neighbors, including India. It must be based on long-term trends in bilateral engagement. To begin with, India and Taiwan, thus far, have had relations constituted by various activities, but what needs to be thought about now is whether they can transform their ties
The US Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups are the most dramatic symbol of Washington’s military and geopolitical power. They were critical to winning World War II in the Pacific and have since been deployed in the Indo-Pacific region to communicate resolve against potential adversaries of the US. The presence or absence of the US Seventh Fleet — the configuration of US Navy ships and aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region built around the carriers — generally determines whether war or peace prevails in the region. In the immediate post-war period, Washington’s strategic planners in the administration of then-US president Harry Truman shockingly