ECFAreferendumisawasteofmoney

作者: 分类: J漂生活 发布于:2020-08-14 649次浏览 56条评论

ECFAreferendumisawasteofmoney

<>We all think politicians are, well, mature adults at the very least, though most of them are crooks. But we have never believed they are still children at heart wishing to play hide and seek in politics. We mean they are playing the game of referendum.

<>The ruling Kuomintang was stupid enough to oppose the legislation of a referendum act while President Lee Teng-hui was in office and doubled as its chairman. The only reason for opposition was that party leaders were afraid the then opposition Democratic Progressive Party would call a referendum to turn the Republic of China into a republic of Taiwan. Kuomintang politicians were not aware that a referendum isn't a plebiscite, which alone can make that change possible.

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<>After replacing Lee as president, Chen Shui-bian promoted the legislation of referendum and finally had an act adopted, thanks to a not strong enough resistance put up by the Kuomintang in opposition. During the eight years of Chen's rule, the Kuomintang could manage to control only a paper-thin majority in the Legislative Yuan, but its lawmakers made enough trouble for Chen by adding stipulations to the act that aimed at preventing him from calling referendums to change the name of the country.

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<>Chen is a consummate defense lawyer, albeit his pride as such proved his downfall. He has been detained for more than one year before and after he was convicted of forgery, corruption and graft, and money laundering and sentenced to life in prison. But while in office, he tried twice to call referendums, two of them held alongside the presidential election of 2004 by clever maneuvering through a hole in the act. He was able to hold what are known as “defensive referendums,” which he alone would be able to call. One stipulation in the act — probably a slip of the pen on the part of otherwise astute Kuomintang legislators — allows the president to call a referendum without endorsement of the public if and when he considers the country is facing a clear and imminent threat to its national security. China pledges to take Taiwan back to its communist hold by force if necessary. That's a good alibi for Chen to initiate the two defensive referendums.

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<>Of course, neither of the referendums was valid, simply because not enough eligible voters went to the polls to vote on them. According to the act, at least half of the electorate has to take part in a referendum and a simple majority vote will pass it. Much less than half of the voters in 2004 voted on the Chen referendums. That was a foregone conclusion, which Chen knew more than well enough. As a matter of fact, he called them for one purpose: not to have them passed but to get more voters to turn out to return him to office. In the end, however, it's the two bullets, one of which grazed his abdomen, that generated enough sympathy votes to get him reelected.

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<>Similarly, politicians of the Kuomintang and the opposition party know a referendum the latter is calling for on an economic cooperation framework agreement between Taiwan and China will never be adopted. But all of them have gone on the record by saying they want the make-believe referendum over a non-issue.

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<>Tsai Ing-wen, chairperson of the opposition party, is a vehement advocate for the referendum on the ECFA, without which — everybody knows — Taiwan will be economically marginalized in an emerging Asian free trade zone. To be sure, it will be a legitimate one, for it approves or rejects the agreement yet to be signed. But all the voters in Taiwan know, including all lawmakers of the two parties, the referendum will be invalidated like the two six years ago. Our voters are not as stupid as our politicians believe they are. They know full well Taiwan has to have the ECFA. More than half of them will stay away from the polls, if the referendum is ever held.

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<>Kuomintang leaders from President Ma Ying-jeou on down used to feign opposition to an ECFA referendum. So Tsai and company continued to press for it in the hope that they can corner the ruling party and thereby win the upcoming mayoralty elections in five special municipalities. Voters will elect their new mayors in Taipei, New North City, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung in early December.

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<>As Tsai and Ma are scheduled to go on the air to debate the pros and cons of the ECFA on Sunday, the latter had to come out to declare the Kuomintang has never opposed any legitimate referendum on the urgently needed agreement after it is inked before the end of the first half of this year, if possible.

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<>Now that every politician has agreed to hold the totally unnecessary referendum, the opposition party has to initiate it at once. It takes time to get the proposal for the referendum adopted first. We are certain more than enough endorsement will be forthcoming for a two-stage confirmation of the agenda. Then the electorate will be asked to vote — probably by the end of this year, hopefully before the elections in the five special municipalities. And the referendum will be declared null and void because not more than half of the eligible voters take part.

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<>We don't mind our politicians playing hide and seek like toddlers. But we truly hate to see them wasting our taxpayers' money on a referendum we have no reason whatsoever to call.

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<>〈本文仅供参考,不代表本会立场〉

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