Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would elevate the Cabinet’s role in government, enshrine a parliamentary system into the Constitution and create the position of prime minister if elected.
As Taiwan has experienced three transitions of power since its first presidential elections in 1996, Ko said he has been considering whether the nation’s political problems are in part caused by the dominance of seven elected officials: the president and the mayors of the six special municipalities.
“The winner takes it all, and there are no checks and balances whatsoever,” he said.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
Although mayors face questioning by city councilors, the president is not subject to legislative oversight, so strings can be pulled behind the scenes, he said.
Ko said his main priority would be the country’s lasting peace and stability, not his term in office.
Next year’s election is a good opportunity to end the autocratic presidential system and return the power to the people, Ko said.
If elected, he said he would abolish what he calls the “elective monarchy system” and replace it with a Cabinet-run government.
Ko said he would propose that the president’s appointment of the premier be subject to legislative consent, and that Cabinet members be appointed following legislative hearings.
He added that he would advocate reducing the number of government branches from five — the Executive, the Legislative, the Judicial, the Examination and the Control yuans — to three by removing the latter two.
He would push for the open selection of senior civil servants and board members of state-run firms, and scrap the policy that makes special central government budgets a regular practice, Ko said.
He would propose lowering the voting age to 18 from 20 and the minimum age a candidate needs to run for public office to 20 from 23, he said.
Ko said he would seek to lower the 5 percent electoral threshold that a political party must surpass to 3 percent of the overall vote to qualify for the distribution of the 34 legislator-at-large seats.
Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said Ko was contradicting himself, because while he is ostensibly pushing to elevate the Cabinet’s role, he is a monarchist at heart.
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