Fairness Is the Better Policy

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2010/01/19/2003463877

This news reminds of a possible deeper problem in Taiwan political system.

Of course, the main reason behind the recent legislative chaos and stalemates can be contributed to Ma government’s irrational policy, not following proper procedures and channels, and general arrogant attitude.  (Example includes MOU, ECFA, US Beef with bones, and now the amendment of Local Government Act)  However, this is perhaps the result of a deeper structural problem.

For a very long time, Taiwan’s legislature has been quite dysfunctional in a way.  It’s not abnormal for a democratic country’s congress, legislture, parliament etc to turn into a battle field (looking at different countries in different times, you can find quite a bit of examples).  If nothing else, it’s sometimes quite entertaining to watch.  (Maybe that’s why Taiwan does not need WWF).  However, I think at least there is one clear reason why Taiwan legisture is not functioning properly now: under representative of the pan green supporters.

During the last legislature election, DPP actually got more than 25% of votes (if I remember correctly, it’s close to 40%), but because the new electoral areas etc (after they slash the number of legislature seats in half) is structure in such a way that KMT has the absolute advantage, DPP never had a chance.  During that time, a lot of people alreayd pointed out, but in any case, the law was passed and unsurprisingly that is the result.

However, now KMT legislators are actually paying the price of taking unfair advantages:

  • DPP has a valid reason in being more aggressive, because they should have more seats by vote percentage.
  • KMT officials become arrogant, and KMT legislators become low value pawn, because there are so many of them.  Their voice become less important.
  • In another word, each DPP representative has on average more support behind them than each KMT representative.
  • Even if KMT forces a bill/act through, it is really unjustifiable, because their majority is gained through unfair advantages.  The result is that the bills / acts that got passed does not reflect public opinions in general, which is what we are observing now.

For quite a long time, the KMT takes unfair advantages in election (ie, if they got 50% of vote, they got 70% of seats etc).  On the surface, it appears to be an advantage to them, but it can actually make their government quite dysfunctional (Ma as president or as Taipei Mayor.  In both cases, the resulting government is generally considered not very good).  More importantly, it hinders Taiwan’s democratic system.  Hopefully, the evolution of the system will adjust this problem.

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