Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Ma says talk of a `coalition Cabinet' is meaningless

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The landslide victory of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in last Saturday's local government elections has generated speculation about a possible power-sharing deal that would form a "coalition Cabinet" led by KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) or Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

However, Ma yesterday dismissed the idea, and said he was committed to finishing his term as Taipei mayor.

"I am Taipei mayor, and I don't want to escape my responsibility halfway through my term, since I made an eight-year promise to the people of Taipei," Ma said yesterday after presiding over a municipal meeting.

Ma said the pan-blue camp now holds barely half of the seats in the legislature, which makes the party's position too weak to form a new Cabinet.

"The discussion of a Cabinet reshuffle led by the pan-blue camp is meaningless now because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has already dismissed such suggestions," he added.

The KMT has proposed a "coalition government" more than once since the beginning of the DPP administration in order to break the deadlock between the executive and legislative branches. Both proposals were promptly dismissed by the DPP, which ridiculed the KMT for trying to extract a share of the electoral spoils despite twice having lost the presidential vote.

Ma said that in a "coalition Cabinet," the party with a legislative majority holds the power to form the Cabinet, and not the president.

"The DPP can't accept such an idea, and therefore has never implemented the semi-presidential system," he said.

While the DPP government has been against the idea, political analyst Liao Da-chi (廖達琪) of National Chungshan University predicted that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) may now reconsider the possibility, and invite Ma or Wang to form a new Cabinet.

"That could be a strategy Chen may use to intensify the rivalry between Ma and Wang if he invited Wang to be in the Cabinet," Liao said. "On the other hand, it would be a heavy responsibility for Ma if he agrees to form the Cabinet."

Kao Yuang-kuang (高永光), dean of the social science college at National Chengchi University, held a different view, and said due to Chen's characteristics, the possibility of a coalition cabinet would be slim, because of of Chen's fear of giving away too much power.

"What Chen is most worried about is that if he gives up some power to the opposition parties, all of his power will be taken away," Kao said.

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