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Feb 13, 2008

The KMT's majority

I was reflecting the other day on the scale of defeat for the DPP in the legislature and what it means. I know I had a sense of a "permanent majority" re-forming for the KMT, and I think I wasn't alone in that. Still, lately I've been pondering another angle.

For virtually all intents and purposes, the current pro-blue majority is a lot like their last one -- they can control committees, decide what bills pass, and just run the legislative show. The difference is that they will almost certainly be getting far more media attention and "credit" for what they are doing now than they did last cycle.

Technically, they can also recall initiate a recall on the president -- though the referendum on such an issue may keep them in check -- and could amend the constitution, though I can't imagine them doing much more to it than adding a few legislative seats or clarifying a presidential or parliamentary system. Of course, they have rarely shown any restraint in the past on this sort of thing, so perhaps this conclusion is just wishful thinking.

And the KMT wins in some districts were not necessarily huge -- it only takes a little swing to send things the other way in both Taipei County and in Tainan. And with 250,000-300,000 voters per district ... can the legislators really buy everyone off to gaurentee eternal incumbency?

Just putting this out there for discussion. I'm interested in seeing what people think.


Tim Maddog said...

If I may be picky about your wording, the legislature can't recall the president themselves -- they can only initiate the recall proceedings. As your complete sentence implies, the rest depends on a referendum, and one with a very difficult threshold at that. (Just wanted to make that clearer than you did in the post.)

As you also recognize, the blues' wins were not as large as the number of seats they took indicates. This, of course, was because of the "winner-takes-all" setup.

I hope Hsieh wins the presidential election by a large enough margin to demonstrate that trying to recall him would not only be futile but that it would only make the blues' "sore loser" tendencies more apparent.

Tim Maddog

Raj said...

Re: Constituency sizes

This is why I suggested that KMT wins wouldn't lead to incumbants never losing. You simply can't afford to reward that many people indirectly. Sure a legislator can ask for money for public works or whatever, but there is no guarantee who will feel happy because of that - there's no point in people becoming more likely to vote for you if they were already deep-Blue/Green and would have turned out anyway.

Furthermore, there is always the danger that others will be annoyed that they didn't get "something". You can't have a new swimming pool on every street corner. And there will only be a limited pot for dishing money out - if the KMT raised taxes or the national debt to pay for it they'd get in trouble.

N.J said...

it's be good for Taiwan if either Ma or Hsieh won the presidential election by a clear margin ( 500K votes? )
one can't help but felt bitter if your party lost by a razor-thin margin.
get the feeling if Ma won, it would be a clear decisive win but a Hsieh win would be the narrowest margin of victory