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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Taiwan next? Parliament first!

Democratic elections aims to making democracy 'work' in that they provide a mechanism through which each citizen can contribute on an equal basis to collective decision making.

In order for Taiwan’s democratic mechanism to function well, the voters should pay much attention to who they should vote for in the Legislative Yuan and not just whom they should choose as their next president.

Without a pan green majority in the parliament, much needed reform on Taiwan’s referendum law, and a fairer electoral system will not be discussed in the Legislative Yuan (LY), reform on either of the two has never been mentioned by the current KMT-dominated LY.  Beside the fear for not being able to strengthen Taiwan’s democratic mechanism, there will also be another 4 years of turbulence / conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government much like during the Chen Shui Bian’s era if today Taiwanese voters choose a DPP president with a KMT majority LY, it will be another wasted 4 years of stand-off, a big loss for Taiwan’s global competitiveness.

Taiwanese go to the polls today facing big challenges to overcome the influential non-neutral factors that can tilt the result of this election including but not limited to the following:

US’s announcement of Taiwan as a candidate for the US visa waiver program just in time to help the incumbent Ma Ying-Jeou

An anonymous US official “leaked” to the Financial Times in September 2011 that the DPP presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-Wen failed to convince the Obama administration that she would handle relations with China well

An estimated (but questionable) 200,000 to 300,000 Taiwanese expats in China mostly in favor of Ma are returning to vote in this election, half-priced airfares or cheaply charted flights are helping

Taiwan election expert “Frozen Garlic” observed the KMT’s gerrymandering skills in Taipei City long ago – but most Taiwanese voters don’t even know about that election results may often take place as early as when electoral redistricting was determined rather than when voters go to the poll stations to vote

The election date is carefully selected on the 14th of January so that young voters (mostly are DPP supporters) will be deterred from returning home to vote, having to study for their final exams in Taiwan’s university calendar system

Taiwan’s non-neutral Central Election Commission

Does Ma’s administration really welcome international observers in this election?

The same old problems of votes of unequal weights, huge differences on party financial resources – a very rich KMT party with stolen assets from the nation, KMT’s media advantage and all the other factors forming the patterns of election malpractice.

Having the above list of odds against the pan green camp in this election does not mean that it is impossible for the pan green to win the election.  Unfair situations simply make winning very difficult but not impossible.

“Taiwan Next”? To achieve this DPP’s campaign slogan, I would say to Taiwanese eligible voters estimated at 18,090,255, “Parliament First!”

With the KMT winning the parliament in 2008, this is what I received (excerpt) from a British external affairs official replying to FAPA Europe’s WHO campaign letter in 2008 – i.e. we could not voice for Taiwan’s interests abroad if Taiwanese had voted for a party that lacked intention to safeguard its sovereignty:

The UK government agrees that one of the fundamental rights of every human being is to have the highest attainable standards of health available to them and the UK government is committed to making this a priority around the globe.
Further more, we agree that Taiwan's absence from systems for co-ordination of international health issues is undesirable. In common with our EU partners, we hope the WHO will adopt practical measures to allow Taiwan to participate in its activities.
We do not believe that supporting Taiwan's bid for observer status of the World Health Assembly would bring any practical benefit.  On the contrary, we see it as a largely political move which simply serves to impede the practical solution we all want. Taiwan's effective participation can only be achieved with the agreement of all WHO members, including China.
We and the EU have been supportive of attempts to find a workable solution and will continue to work for this, including by exploring more practical approaches with the new Taiwanese administration.

By now everyone knows what the new Taiwanese administration did but was afraid to tell its people.

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