In the “blue-white joint statement,” former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), New Taipei City Mayor and the KMT’s presidential candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜), and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) agreed to use public polling to decide their presidential candidate and said that they would form a coalition Cabinet if elected.
The president would be in charge of issues related to national defense, diplomacy and cross-strait affairs, while other ministries would be run by the coalition Cabinet composed of each party’s members based on the number of legislators they have, they said in a statement.
Such a coalition Cabinet proposal is unconstitutional. Even if a blue-white candidate became the president-elect, their plan could not be realized, in accordance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.
China’s influence behind the blue-white coalition is obvious, and Ko shows that. Under great pressure, Ko admitted that he had to overturn the TPP’s collective decision and collaborate with the KMT. That he went against his own principle of transparency and accepted “closed-door politics” is also abnormal.
More importantly, the concept of a blue-white coalition Cabinet is against the principles of “the politics of accountability” and “administrative unity” specified in the Constitution.
Constitutional Interpretation No. 613 states: “The diversified offices and positions were not established so that each department could do things in its own way... No matter how the labor is to be divided, it is up to the highest administrative head to devise an overall plan and to direct and supervise ... Article 53 of the Constitution clearly provides that the Executive Yuan shall be the highest administrative organ of the state. The intent of the article is to maintain administrative unity, thus enabling all of the state’s administrative affairs... to be incorporated into a hierarchical administrative system where the Executive Yuan is situated at the top, and to be ultimately subject to the direction and supervision of the highest-standing organ, the Executive Yuan... Democracy consists essentially in the politics of accountability... Therefore, the principle of administrative unity as revealed by Article 53 of the Constitution is also intended to hold the Premier responsible for all the administrative affairs under the direction and supervision of the Executive Yuan, thus making into a reality the constitutional requirement that the Executive Yuan answers to the people via the Legislative Yuan.”
The proposal for a blue-white coalition Cabinet indicates that the administrative organ of the state is to be formed based on each party’s legislative seats. That way, the premier would not have to abide by the principle of administrative unity, nor would they have to be held accountable. This would be against Article 53 of the Constitution and Constitutional Interpretation No. 613.
Article 3 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China specifies that “the president of the Executive Yuan shall be appointed by the president.” The blue-white claims that the president is to be in charge of national defense, diplomacy and cross-strait affairs shows an intention to hollow out the president’s responsibility of appointing the premier. It also renounces the principles of “the politics of accountability” and “administrative unity” to which the premier should conform.
The blue-white coalition might be a case of sharing political booty thanks to China’s intervention, but their proposal for a coalition Cabinet is unconstitutional. If a blue-white candidate becomes the president-elect, our Constitution would be destroyed and the administrative principles would be ruined. Our democracy would be in crisis.
Huang Di-ying is a lawyer.
Translated by Emma Liu
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