China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 19, 2016
Executive Summary: As an old saying has it, the new ruling and opposition parties must show "humility in victory, and grace in defeat”. The ruling DPP must demonstrate humility in victory. On the night of Tsai Ing-wen's election victory, she spoke of humility, and respect for the minority and the political opposition. The defeated KMT is currently a headless fly, mired in internal strife. It must buck itself up. Taiwan needs the KMT to play a part in the legislature. It needs the KMT to offer clear reasoning and provide strong checks and balances. Only then can it provide the necessary leadership for blue camp followers.
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The new legislature will convene today. This marks the beginning of a new political ecosystem. The DPP will want to implement its “total government”. As the majority party it will have to assume full responsibility. The KMT must learn what it is to be the underdog. It must become an effective opposition party, able to oversee the government and the ruling party. It must prevent DPP abuse of power and corruption. It must prevent the DPP from leading the nation down the wrong path. The blue and green parties have switched roles. The above criteria will reveal whether they are qualified for their new positions.
A prudent beginning is essential. The key will be the two parties' approach to priority legislation. Two pending bills are the key. They are the “Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations”, and the “Articles on the Transfer of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Authority”. These bills will reveal whether the two parties have the proper attitudes and postures for their new roles. The DPP has characterized these two bills as priority legislation. The KMT has not.
First take the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations. The DPP initially proposed a "two-states theory” version, entitled the "Draft Bill for Agreements between Taiwan and China". It explicitly referred to agreements between the two sides as "agreements between two nations". Passage of this bill into law, would amount to the passage of the "two-states theory” into law. It would become the first shot fired in the battle for de jure Taiwan independence. It would bring unspeakable catastrophe upon Taiwan. Leave aside the reaction from the Mainland for the moment. Chaos would prevail, on Taiwan, in the US, and among other foreign allies. Not one of them would support us or recognize us.
Tsai Ing-wen knows full well the lethal blowback that would result from such a move. In the wake of her election victory, she began altering the two-states theory version of the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations. DPP legislative caucus leader Ko Chien-min was more explicit. He said "The content will be modified. At the very least, the name of the regulations will be different".
Considering Taiwan's larger interests, the DPP's move is correct and necessary. We would remind the DPP however, that merely changing the name of the bill, or deleting the words, "agreement between two nations", will not enable the DPP government to squeak by. If the draft bill contains other "two-states theory” content, then any DPP efforts to stabilize cross-Strait relations will be severely jeopardized.
The best way to deal with the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations is for Tsai to follow in Ma's footsteps. Following in Ma's footsteps may provoke discontent among Taiwan independence supporters, and invite opposition ridicule. But that is a price the DPP must pay. After all, the DPP knew full well that its two-states theory version of the regulations was infeasible. But it proposed it anyway, merely to win votes. Its credibility must of course now take a hit.
Turning away from the two-states theory is precisely what we are urging the DPP to do. Anyone with eyes can see how many DPP proposals that guaranteed success during the election, also guaranteed failure during governance. The DPP is now in power. Presumably Tsai wants her administration to succeed. A 180 degree “bootleg turn” is unavoidable. That being the case, the DPP may as well bite the bullet. Whatever it does, it must not flinch. It must not hedge its bets, in a futile attempt to please both sides. It must not attempt to simultaneously eat crow and save face. Otherwise it will wind up with nothing to show on either side.
Now take the “Articles on the Transfer of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Authority”. The KMT demands to know why the DPP considers this such an urgent matter. Its attitude suggests pettiness. It is barking up the wrong tree. It suggests that the KMT has yet to accept its new role as an opposition party.
The clash over the articles is both substantive and procedural. In terms of procedure, the Articles on the Transfer of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Authority are important. The DPP has won a legislative majority. It now wants to make the articles a priority. The KMT also wanted this legislation. So why not respect the wishes of the ruling party? What the KMT should do, is closely monitor the substantive aspect of the articles.
For example, the DPP version of the articles expand presidential authority, and may well be unconstitutional. After all, presidential authority is limited by the Constitution. Article 171 of the Constitution stipulates that "Any legislation that contravenes the Constitution is null and void". In other words, the KMT can safely defer to the DPP on the matter of priority, while noting obstacles to its passage, or voicing doubts as to its constitutionality. It can leave behind a record that enables the public to judge its merits.
This is why we recommend that the Kuomintang adjust to its new role as an opposition party. The DPP enjoys a stable majority in the legislature. Or does the KMT intend to take the same path as the DPP once did, the same path the KMT criticized the DPP for? Does it intend to forcibly occupy the podium? If not, then the KMT will not be able to block passage of the bill. That does not mean it cannot play a powerful role on the matter of substance. During debates over substance, the KMT must put up a fight. It must present clear reasons for its opposition that enable the public to see why the bill is wrong.
As an old saying has it, the new ruling and opposition parties must show "humility in victory, and grace in defeat”. The ruling DPP must demonstrate humility in victory. On the night of Tsai Ing-wen's election victory, she spoke of humility, and respect for the minority and the political opposition. The defeated KMT is currently a headless fly, mired in internal strife. It must buck itself up. Taiwan needs the KMT to play a part in the legislature. It needs the KMT to offer clear reasoning and provide strong checks and balances. Only then can it provide the necessary leadership for blue camp followers.
民進黨要學著如何當全面執政、全面承擔、全面負責的多數黨； 國民黨也要學著如何當一個處於劣勢卻有戰力的少數黨， 能有效監督政府與執政黨，防止濫權與貪腐， 並避免國家走上錯誤道路。這是藍綠在國會互換角色後， 是否稱職的試金石。
就是兩個政黨對優先法案的態度。我們不妨從二個指標法案──「 兩岸協議監督條例」以及「總統副總統職務交接條例」 來觀察新朝野該有的新態度與新角色。而這兩個法案， 是民進黨想在新會期處理的「優先法案」，卻都未被國民黨納入「 優先法案」。
兩國論版」的「台灣與中國締結協議處理條例草案」， 草案第一條明文把兩岸間協議稱為「兩國協議」。此一條文若通過， 就是「兩國論入法」，開了法理台獨的第一槍。 這將是台灣難以承受的大災難，不要說中國大陸會有強烈動作、 台灣內部會有極大動盪，美國等國際上友我國家， 也不可能支持認同。
兩國論版」的「兩岸協議監督條例」將轉彎的訊息。 民進黨立院黨團總召柯建銘更把話挑明：「內容一定會修改、 至少條例名稱會不一樣」。
但仍要提醒民進黨，不是只把法案名稱改一改， 或者刪除草案第一條的「兩國協議」文字就能安渡關山， 在該草案中，如果有其他擦邊球式的「兩國論內容」， 仍然會對民進黨接下來努力想要和緩、穩住的兩岸關係帶來重創。
雖然拿香跟拜可能惹來獨派支持者的不滿、對手陣營的訕笑。 但這是民進黨必須付出的代價。畢竟， 民進黨在提出兩國論版的監督條例時，也清楚知道絕無可行， 但為了爭取選票還是提出，誠信受責，也是當然之理。
明眼人皆知，民進黨在過去為了「選舉成功」， 提出了許多將導致其「執政失敗」的政策與主張。現在執政了， 除非蔡英文不想執政成功，否則「狂轉彎」 幾乎已是不可避免的宿命，既然如此，民進黨要「狂轉彎」， 就乾脆一次轉到底，千萬不要「欲轉還留」，留下不清不楚、 想兩面討好、裡子面子都要拿的擦邊球， 這將變成兩頭空的另一場災難。
國民黨質疑民進黨將之列為優先法案的「必要性跟急迫性在哪裡？」 態度上顯得不夠大方，在議題切入上也顯得失了準度。這也顯示， 國民黨還沒有調整好「新在野」的角色。
總統副總統交接法制化有其重要性，民進黨既已贏得國會多數， 既然在意此事，要將之置為優先法案， 國民黨過去也曾有意推動立法，現在何妨尊重執政黨？ 國民黨該做的是在「實質面」嚴格把關。
畢竟總統職權仍為憲法所明訂，《憲法》第171條亦規定：「 法律與憲法牴觸者無效。」換言之，在該交接條例上， 國民黨就算程序上尊重民進黨列之為優先， 仍可以在實質內容上指出其滯礙難行，或有違憲疑慮之處， 留下據理力爭的紀錄，讓民眾公評。
未來在民進黨居於穩定多數的國會生態裡， 除非國民黨要走過去他們所批評的民進黨霸占主席台的老路， 否則國民黨恐怕很難在程序上去阻擋民進黨欲通過的法案， 但程序上的無力，不代表不能在實質面發揮強大的戰力， 只是在實質議題的辯論攻防中，國民黨要下更足的功夫， 用犀利的道理，讓民眾公評法案的是非。