Mon, Dec 26, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: INTERVIEW: Peng Ming-min talks about need for fair election

Peng Ming-min, chairman of the International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan, which was established with the aim of monitoring next month’s elections, in an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Huang Tai-lin, on Friday, cited the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ as an example of why the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should not abuse the power of government to influence the outcome of the election

TT: Earlier you mentioned that there are some concerns over the four-month transitional period. What are some of the possible problems you envisage?

Peng: It’s hard to say, but, for example, if the margin of victory turns out to be small, and the Central Election Committee delays an announcement on who the president-elect is, then people might protest. One other question is how the KMT would govern in that four-month period in the event that it lost the election. Again, this is just a “what if” scenario, there are many possibilities as to what might happen, which is exactly why we need to keep a watchful eye.

In any election, there are always winners and losers. The losers should demonstrate democratic spirit, respect the result; and where the outcome is contested, appeal in accordance with the laws and not resort to violence or the creation of social disorder.

The establishment of the committee seeks to focus the attention of the world on Taiwan and also highlights that many in the international community are genuinely interested and concerned about developments in Taiwan and whether its elections are fair. Hopefully all political parties will realize that nothing can be hidden from view because the world is watching.

TT: In the event that the results of the Jan. 14 elections are contested, what role do you expect the committee to play?

Peng: Until it happens, we do not know what might occur so we will have to see.

People in general have a lack of confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary and are concerned about whether the KMT will abuse administrative and judicial power.

I think the KMT should have paid close attention to the “Jasmine Revolution” in North Africa and the Middle East and hopefully realizes that if a government does things that are unbearable for the people, that can lead to the build up of popular resentment.

TT: Do you think the KMT should perhaps make some sort of public pledge in view of the concerns many have about the four-month window before the change in government?

Peng: If I were a KMT member, I’d very much hope [Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would ask President Ma, as KMT chairman, to pledge that the transfer of power from the KMT to the DPP, in the event of a DPP win, would be peaceful. I find it regrettable that she hasn’t already asked that question because people have a lack of confidence in the KMT, especially in the wake of the recent “Yu Chang case” [in which the KMT allegedly altered documents used to smear Tsai].

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