Wed, Oct 28, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Chu sets a bad example in politics

By Huang Kuo-chang 黃國昌

When politicians announce their decisions to run for president, a great deal of information about them is revealed, including their core values and their take on ongoing problems, in addition to their planned reforms and other objectives that drive them to pursue their candidacy.

On Oct. 17, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) gave the perfect example of how not to launch a presidential campaign. It is not so much that Chu has replaced Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) — the party’s original candidate — by abusing procedural justice as party chairman. Neither is it about his betrayal of the residents of New Taipei City, of which he is mayor, though he has taken time off from the role ahead of January’s election. Rather, it is his unwillingness to reflect on the KMT’s errors, his flawed value judgements, and his failure to get a grip on the nation’s problems and their causes.

Chu said he is running for president because he wants the next generation to be better off than the current generation and for the future to be more hopeful than today.

He also said that if the KMT cannot win the election and secure a majority of seats in the legislature, the nation’s future would be lost.

He seems to have forgotten that, over the past seven years, Taiwanese have twice given the KMT the authority to govern in presidential elections. What they received in return was not a better life or a more hopeful future, but a depressing tomorrow; so depressing that there is hardly any future left for the next generation.

Is Chu so inept that he cannot see this? Issues closely related to social and generational justice — such as tax and year-end bonus reform — were not mentioned in his speech. Does he really care about the younger generation’s future?

Chu said that he decided to break his promise to New Taipei City residents as their mayor and run for president because he wanted to safeguard democracy and let the nation’s next generation enjoy a healthy democracy.

Does he know that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has repeatedly chosen to be at odds with the public? Legislators of the KMT — the majority party in the legislature — have repeatedly preferred to be Ma’s lackeys; they disregarded public opinion and listened to his. When Ma went against the Constitution and the executive exercised its power in a perverse manner, KMT lawmakers did nothing to stop it. They neglected their duty to supervise and provide a counterbalance to the government, as invested by the Constitution. Is this the kind of democracy Chu wants to safeguard?

When Chu mentioned constitutional and legislative reform, he admitted that the constitutional system is flawed in that power is not matched with an equal level of responsibility. Yet he failed to explain why the KMT has repeatedly blocked proposals to reform the legislature’s responsibility of oversight, as proposed by academics and civic groups.

He knows that the legislature cannot effectively counterbalance the executive, as seen in the cross-strait agreement oversight bill and the revision to the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法).

Also, a proposal to increase the transparency of the legislature by setting up a TV channel for the public to supervise lawmakers has been rejected by KMT legislators.

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