Sun, May 08, 2011 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Peng advises vigilance ahead of elections

On April 19, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the merger of the presidential and legislative elections, which will likely be held on Jan. 14 next year. Former presidential adviser Peng Ming-min talked to Tzou Jiing-wen, a staff reporter for the ‘Liberty Times’ (the sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’), saying that the commission has violated the principle of fairness by changing the rules when the game has already begun. Saying the merged polls could make vote-buying even easier, Peng called for strict public scrutiny during election season

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) comments that this would be a period of “custodianship” and not lead to a constitutional vacuum is simply a waste of breath. [His comments] basically suggested a lack of courage to face the issue.

The KMT said it would draft and pass a law governing the presidential handover. But in my opinion, whether it passes or not is not the point. The point is that the KMT has had no credibility during the past three years.

Take for example this issue of combining the elections, it is circumventing the Constitution, plowing ahead simply because the KMT wants to. Depending on its effect and situation, the KMT might decide to separate the elections again next time [after 2012.] This shows a complete disregard for the law, and even if a law governing presidential handover is passed, what will it accomplish?

LT: The KMT seems to think that combining the elections will be beneficial for Ma’s cause. Why is that?

Peng: From every aspect, the general perception is that the KMT’s performance in the [coming] legislative election will be worse than before. And with a fewer number of seats [up for grabs], the public would think of it as the defeated party; therefore, the KMT is afraid that if the legislative elections were held first, the results would affect the presidential election two months later.

I’m not clear on the specifics, but no matter what, combined elections open the door to easier bribery. Bribing for one election makes the issue sensitive; bribing for two makes it convenient. This makes for a very unnerving situation.

LT: If Ma loses the election, what would happen in the next four months?

Peng: What we are worried about is that the KMT does not want a spirit of fair competition. What would the president do if the KMT loses? This is very dangerous, and the public must be aware and pay close attention as events unfold, as well as make the international community aware [of what is happening]. This would make the KMT feel actual pressure should it lose, knowing that it cannot do anything rash with all the attention focused on it.

LT: Can you be more specific?

Peng: What we are most afraid of is that should the DPP win the presidential election, the KMT could use the four-month window to enact irreparable things, such as signing treaties with China. If the DPP could win enough seats in the legislature, then it could at least counterbalance such a move. But what if it doesn’t?

Aside from that, during those four months, Ma is still the president. Would the KMT do more radical things? Or maybe violent things and then find a reason to declare martial law and refuse to hand over power?

A lot of people are saying these things and are fearful at heart. I don’t like to say it, but it’s not entirely impossible. Some are even worried that the KMT would not wait for all the ballots to be counted and take action when it sees things going bad for the KMT.

In my opinion, the KMT is capable of anything.

LT: In its rebuttal, the KMT is sure to respond that it’s a democratic era and Ma isn’t that kind of person. Do you still maintain your point of view in light of this response?

Peng: Even if Ma himself said he isn’t that kind of person, I wouldn’t believe him. Before such an event happens, of course he would say he isn’t that kind of person. But should such an event really happen, he would say that he didn’t do it. The current state of Taiwan’s legal system is the reason I believe that he is capable of doing many things behind the scene. Ma has always said he doesn’t interfere in the judiciary system, but does anyone believe it? I don’t believe that the abnormal situation now has nothing to do with him.

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