Archive for January 19th, 2010|Daily archive page


Interestingly, just when I wrote about the election structure problem in Taiwan, politicians, including ex-President Chen, are onto the same topic.  I guess it must be because DPP has shown sign and possibility of winning in these recent election, people start to think about it.

My view is that KMT tried to take as much advantage in it as possible, but in fact, they are paying the price now for making unfair rule.  But maybe I did not, and perhaps a lot of people, do not understand these election issue fully.  Because back then, most people think this is unfair, but now, it seems DPP can win in this type of election setup.  In fact, the more optimistic people (such as ex-President Chen) will think that it’s possible for DPP to exceed half seats in Legislature (if I remember correctly, that would be unprecedented.  Although for a time DPP is the biggest party in Legislature, pan Blue parties combined still far exceed DPP and pan green number).  However, although it’s natural to feel more optimistic now, it is perhaps still too early to see what will happen next IMO.


KMT is not Really “Right-Wing”

Taiwan News has a new editorial here.  Overall, it is well written, as usual.  However, I think the article has a major mistake that shows a general misconception, and that is identifying Ma’s KMT as right-wing.  I think that will create much confusion and misunderstanding about Taiwan politics for western and Taiwanese readers alike.

A right-wing party to me has the following features which left-wing party does not have:

  • Idea of small government: this KMT does not fit.  It is actually expanding governement structures over the years.  DPP is the one that tried to cut down government structure, although it never occurs due to legislature blockage of KMT.  Therefore, in a sense, KMT is pro large government, at least in practice.
  • Idea of strong military and hawkish foreign policy: this KMT, especially Ma’s KMT, obviously does not have.  Furthermore, although DPP as a party downplay military power, in practice, DPP seems to spend more effort in nationalize and strengthen military.  The current KMT in contrast cuts down military exercise and budget etc.  In foreign policy, KMT is definitely turtling.
  • Low Tax: this KMT does not fit exactly.  In fact, KMT has been increasing taxes (in different form) after 2008.  At least it is not lowering it. 
  • Opposing the idea of welfare state and state own enterprises: this KMT does not fit neither.  The KMT has provided the largest, most rediculous and unfair welfare to at least part of society – those people who are ‘loyal’ to KMT.  The famous 18% is a good example.  Perhaps there are historical justification, but then again they also opposing cutting down those welfare spending when the situation calls for it.  Therefore, it is clear to see that they do not uphold this idea.  Furthermore, KMT created large amount of state owned enterprises.  A lot of them inefficiently runned, until DPP took over and privatized them.  Again, one might justify such action, but it shows KMT is not opposing state-own enterprise.
  • More conservative: this one KMT does not fit neither, especially in its Chinese policy.  It is proposing larger investment and engagment with China.  In that sense, it is very unconservative, to the point of quite reckless.

Other stuff such as freer trade etc, in both left and right-wing parties, there are those who support and those who oppose it.  Therefore, I do not list them here.  As can be clearly seen above, it is actually quite difficult to call KMT a right-wing party, in the traditional western political sense.  In fact, it actually has some left-wing features.  However, it should not be called left-wing neither, in my opinion.

I agree with what ex-president Chen said in this matter: Taiwan does not have right-wing/left-wing problem.  The political situation is quite different in Taiwan due to its unique situation and political development.  It is difficult to identify Taiwan’s political parties simply as left and right.  To do so will only create confusion in my opinion.