The KMT's Sordid Past Relives Itself under Ma Ying-jeou

  Previous  |  Next  

Wednesday January 20, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is a past master of fat-cat positions and bought loyalties. Who can not help but remember the inequalities of its forced forty year one-party state rule of Taiwan. Who cannot help but remember how while promoting the ruse of being pro-democracy the KMT guaranteed party members lucrative lifelong positions in the Legislative Yuan (LY). After it lost China's Civil War, the KMT retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Party members elected to the LY in 1947, never had to face another election until 1992 when Lee Teng-hui finally cleaned house. Most LY members by that time had either died or were ready to retire with fat pensions. Is the past, the past? Not on your life.

On Tuesday January 19, 2010, the KMT-dominated legislature forced 30 votes in 70 minutes against opposition to push through a disputed amendment to the Local Government Act. The amendment applied to the coming year-end elections for the five new special municipalities. Under the amendment the current incumbents chosen in 2005 would hold their positions as district heads until 2014. These positions would normally be appointed by the new special municipality mayors to be elected in December 2010.

In effect what was happening is that no matter who would be elected as the special municipality mayors (either KMT or DPP), 56 incumbent district heads would owe their jobs to the KMT dominated legislature and not the new mayors elected by the people. Normally the new mayors (elected in December) would not have the power to appoint people they can trust to these positions.

This is a new tactic by the KMT to subvert the wishes of the people. They have been losing elections lately and are getting worried. Several corrupt KMT legislators have lost their jobs and the people have surprisingly elected DPP legislators in their place.

Taiwan's KMT president, Ma Ying-jeou as usual, sat on the sidelines nodding approval while others carried out his wishes. In the crucial upcoming December elections regardless of the results, he would have 56 incumbent township heads in key areas and they would owe him their jobs. They would know that without campaigning, they now had guaranteed positions until 2014. If they wanted these people could simply sit in their offices, drink tea and collect their salaries. Democratically, the citizens of Taiwan could do nothing.

However, while the citizens of Taiwan can do nothing about this heavy handedness in the Legislative Yuan, they can use their democratic right to do something. They can vote out all future KMT candidates in the Legislative by-elections in February and vote out KMT candidates in the December year-end special municipality mayoral elections. That at least will start to right the abuses of the past and level the playing field.