After leaving the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) late last month, retired army general Yu Pei-chen (于北辰) announced his support for Democratic Progressive Party legislator-elect Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) in her campaign for a by-election in Taichung’s second electoral district on Sunday last week, which she won.
Lin’s rival in the by-election, former legislator Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒) of the KMT, said that Yu switching sides showed that “a political party with no soul is no different than a convenience store franchise.”
Asked to clarify what he meant, Yen said that he was referring to the relationship between individual chain stores and their headquarters, which is not built on loyalty.
Even after that attempted clarification, his comparison still makes no sense.
The relationship between franchise convenience stores and their headquarters is to be described in management terms; it has nothing to do with loyalty. The headquarters chooses the operators of its outlets, and checks the quality of their work through spot checks and evaluations.
Article 3 of the Political Parties Act (政黨法) defines “political parties” as “political groups consisting of Republic of China citizens with a common political ideology who safeguard the free, democratic, constitutional order, assist in shaping the political will of the people, and nominate candidates for election to public office.”
In other words, a party’s soul is its political ideology, its core values. Rather than slavishly adhering to the KMT, Yu felt the need to stand by the nation against communist aggressors, while he perceived the KMT as aligned with China and pro-unification.
Realizing that he did not share the KMT’s beliefs, Yu saw no option but to leave the party.
A political ideology that any political party should agree on is that there should be no legal loopholes that individuals can exploit to occupy public land, or loopholes that enable legislators to abuse their power to clear legal hurdles for the benefit of their family members, who wish to secure a 20-year lease of the No. 105 wharf in the Port of Taichung.
What right does Yen have to talk about the soul of a political party?
Yeh Yu-cheng is a secretary at the Pingtung Public Health Bureau.
Translated by Michelle Mitchell
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