The performance of the recently concluded seventh Legislative Yuan showed that a Chinese Nationalist Party-dominated (KMT) political scene in the past four years had failed to bring fruitful results to Taiwanese, analysts told a forum in Taipei yesterday.
The choice of voters to give the KMT consecutive landslide wins in the legislative elections in January 2008 and the presidential election two months later was a “bold gamble,” Lo Cheng-chung (羅承宗), a researcher at Taiwan Brain Trust, told the forum organized by the think tank about the legislature’s performance.
The KMT won 81 of 113 legislative seats, while President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won 58 percent of the total votes in the presidential election.
However, the gamble did not pay off because the public had to pay the price of lack of checks and balances in government, instead of enjoying the efficiency and achievement of single-party dominance, Lo said.
Legislators trimmed just 0.007 percent from the 2012 central government budget, he said, a clear sign that it has failed to do its job because government agencies are known for inflating their budgets.
A total of 624 pieces of legislation were passed in four years in the session that ended on Dec. 14, with an annual average of 156, and some of those passed were highly controversial, such as the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例) and the Judges’ Act (法官法), said Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華) of the Citizen Congress Watch.
“The seventh legislature has been disappointing compared with previous legislatures in terms of quality and quantity of legislation screening,” Ku said, adding that each legislator is receiving a monthly salary of NT$180,000 and research fee of NT$500,000 to do more than what they did.
“The biggest problem for the legislature now is that it is not a domain for discussions of public policies, but a legislative bureau of the KMT,” Ku said.
People had great expectations after the electoral system underwent significant changes in 2007, with the introduction of the “single-district, two votes” system, and the number of lawmakers was dramatically trimmed from 225 to 113, which was expected to improve legislative efficiency and professionalism.
However, the results have been almost completely the opposite of what had been promised, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said.
However, the new system marginalized smaller parties, encouraged partisanship and dramatically increased the power of each legislator, Lin said.
Lin has proposed a two-phase overhaul aimed at improving legislative efficiency and changing the legislative electoral system. The proposal has been approved by the DPP as its main demand to appeal for voter support in next month’s legislative elections.
While the DPP may have to review why it supported the move to halve the number of lawmakers, it deserved recognition for its effort in drafting a number of bills, most of which were later blocked by the KMT in committees.
Experience shows that legislative reform cannot be achieved until the KMT loses its status as the majority party, Lin said.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
SLIGHTS: Beijing intends to display pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in its propaganda videos, an official said Taiwanese officials are poised to boycott next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, citing concerns that China would slight Taiwan during the Games. This year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled to open on Friday next week amid a diplomatic boycott by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK and the US in response to China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang and crackdowns on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that a Cabinet-appointed task force has determined that Taiwan’s delegation would abstain from the opening and
INCREASED COOPERATION: Part of the funding is to be used to further the aims of a Taiwan-US human resources development platform launched in 2015, a source said An increase of ￥100 million (US$878,765) to Japan’s annual foreign affairs budget is for “advancing the Japan-Taiwan relationship,” information published on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed. The ministry’s budget for last year was ￥1.7 billion; it was increased to ￥1.8 billion for this year. The ministry wrote that the additional funding was to be used for “cooperating with allies and like-minded countries to safeguard the universal values of the international community.” Regarding Taiwan specifically, the ministry said that it was “responding to an increasingly complex security and economic environment,” and that it aimed to “strengthen diplomacy and cooperation
A majority of Japanese feel friendly toward Taiwan, with almost half of respondents in a poll saying that they want to visit the country after COVID-19 travel curbs are eased, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan said yesterday. The office said that 75.9 percent of respondents said they feel friendly toward Taiwan, citing as reasons the friendliness and politeness of Taiwanese, the long history of ties between the two nations, and the strength of bilateral trade. More than one-quarter of respondents — 26.4 percent — said they had traveled to Taiwan, while 47.8 percent said they would like to