Fri, Feb 05, 2016 - Page 8

A maturing democracy

Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) is right: Democratization does not just mean changing the accent of the rulers (“No normality without left and right,” Jan. 23, page 8).

A normal democracy should know its left from its right, but why stop there?

A multiparty democracy should offer voters real choices in each policy area. At least there should be a spectrum of social policies (liberal versus conservative) and another dimension for economic (competitive versus redistributive), in addition to the national-identity question. How about adding productionist versus ecologist to the mix?

The recent elections were the first where a full palette of parties worthy of a mature democracy was on offer to the electorate. In addition to the ubiquitous nationalist and communitarian factions, three parties in Taiwan are members of political internationals: Green Party Taiwan in the Global Greens, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the International Democrat Union, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Liberal International.

As the KMT continues its atrophy, social democrats in the DPP might finally feel confident enough to peel off and align with “third force” elements, to form a grouping suitable for membership in the Socialist International or the newfangled Progressive Alliance.

For another example, the Faith and Hope League would not find it hard to stand alongside old-school Christian Democrats in the tradition of Dutch-style testimonial parties.

Perhaps after a few more election cycles, “hung parliament” might even enter the glossary of the Taiwanese legislature, and coalitions have to be formed in order to govern.

It is a serious constitutional problem whether only 113 legislative seats — elected mostly by first-past-the-post — do justice to so many voices and ideas natural to a medium-sized democracy of more than 23 million people.

Te Khai-su

Helsingfors, Finland