After more than 100 days in opposition, one would expect an experienced party like the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to be able to act as a constructive and critical opposition party promoting issues of great importance for Taiwan’s future. However, instead of sobermindedness, the KMT has used the time to criticize progressive policies and events that it does not like — and that is a lot.
Not wanting to lose its ill-gotten assets, the KMT has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of interfering in its fundraising. It also claims that the DPP’s policies are endangering Taiwan, saying they are based on leftist socialist ideas that will transform Taiwan into a new Cuba.
Overseas, the KMT is also saying that cross-strait relations are doomed, because President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) does not accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” referring to a supposed agreement between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
A reality check reveals that the KMT is clinging to the past and accusing the DPP government of arrogance for not understanding and appreciating the KMT’s greatness and past achievements. The KMT lost China and it is now going to lose Taiwan. It would be better for the KMT to realize this and move ahead with policies that are Taiwan-focused.
If people look into the details, they will better understand why it is hard to believe that the KMT will become wiser.
Recently, the KMT discussed the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例). One of the goals is to ensure that the KMT returns questionably obtained assets to the public. Instead of looking forward to a normalization of Taiwan’s politics, the KMT said that the act disregards its contributions to Taiwan.
KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) even suggested that Taiwan owes the KMT and not the other way around.
Accusing the DPP of being a leftist party is out of proportion. The DPP is hardly a leftist socialist party, because of conflicts in the labor market. Strikes are very normal in democratic nations and are used to improve labor rights. Moreover, it is not a leftist socialist idea to cut to the number of national holidays for overworked Taiwanese as the DPP has suggested. Stagnant wages and poor working condition are partly the KMT’s fault.
Instead of throwing mud at the DPP, the KMT should promote policies to upgrade the Taiwanese labor market and unleash Taiwanese creativity and innovation.
Finally, the KMT continues to promote the “1992 consensus” as the savior of the nation’s economy and its relationship with China. Beijing’s reaction to Tsai has been relatively modest. Retrospectively, the KMT’s obsession with the “1992 consensus” has not given Taiwan more real international space, but rather contributed to the KMT’s downfall through the Sunflower movement and Taiwanese’s negative reaction to an economic integration with China, which they fear would lead to more social inequality.
The first 100 days in government can impact the performance over the entire election period, but so can the first 100 days in opposition. The question of when the KMT will become a wise and relevant party remains unanswered after the first 100 days in opposition.
Political dialogue and cooperation among parties are not a strong competence of Taiwanese politicians, but the opposition has the chance to make that change to the benefit of Taiwan.
Michael Danielsen is the chairman of Taiwan Corner, an independent member-based association.
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