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Ex-speaker criticizes failings of political system

2016/10/18 20:11:17

Former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平)

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) expressed his disappointment Tuesday at the failure of the Taiwanese political elite to learn from three peaceful transfers of power that have been widely lauded as setting a good example for developing countries.

Wang, now an opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker, said that attempts by presidents to consolidate presidential, executive and ruling party power over the past two decades have only served to prove that "the more political power is concentrated, the more chaotic the political system and the more incompetent the government."

Rounding up opposition questions to the government at the Legislature, Wang did not ask Premier Lin Chuan (林全) for an answer. Instead, he made a long statement summing up what he -- and his party -- see as a common failure of both the Democratic Progressive Party and the KMT since 2000.

First, he said, popularly elected presidents often try to boost the government's popularity by changing the premier and Cabinet ministers, resulting in the increased alienation of the government from the people.

"Inexperienced premiers and ministers make it more difficult to govern, creating a vicious cycle whereby government popularity always falls rather than rises," he said.

Second, Wang said presidents try to concentrate power in their own hands by calling so-called "coordinative meetings" of the Presidential Office, Executive Yuan and ruling party officials.

However, this practice has invariably shown that the more political power is concentrated, the more chaotic politics and the more incompetent the government, Wang said.

A third strategy both camps have adopted is to invoke the mutual enmity between pan-blue and pan-green voters, according to Wang, a career politician who proved adept at securing cross-party cooperation as legislative speaker.

He said when the political parties use name calling to rally die-hard supporters, they only exacerbate the polarization of society, and further undermine national unity.

Wang said, as an ROC citizen, he hopes the ruling DPP will draft policies that benefit all the people; and as a KMT member, he hopes both parties will work to develop a benevolent cycle of policy competition which ensures the most competent party wins elections, not the one that is best at exposing the other's mistakes and incompetency.

Wang then challenged the DPP to stop passing the buck and accept its responsibility as the ruling party to find a solution to the current impasse in cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

"If you want to adopt a 'distancing China, pro-U.S. and Japan' policy, tell people the price they will have to pay if the United States and Japan cannot solve Taiwan's problems," Wang said.

He also launched a scathing attack on the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration's "legal attempt" to confiscate the KMT's "illegal assets" by establishing a special committee for that purpose.

However much the DPP might want to resolve the issue, Wang said, it should not have seized the salaries and pensions of grass-roots KMT party workers.

"How can it be just to wage political struggle, using whatever means they have at their disposal, to bully the powerless, overriding their basic right to work and own property?" Wang asked.

In his view, the only way for the DPP and KMT to resolve the intractable issue of "illicit party assets" is for lawmakers from both parties to seek a Constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices to ensure both procedural and legal justice is served.

If the DPP wants to demonstrate its fair-mindedness and persuade the public of the legitimacy and legality of its handling of KMT assets, it should invite the KMT to file a joint petition to the grand justices, he said.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Wang Cheng-chung, and S.C. Chang)
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