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Nov 20, 2008

Ma offers to discuss national matters with Tsai

President Ma Ying-jeou believes this weekend would be a good time for such discussions with DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen. Sadly, Tsai is unlikely to accept give the political climate; she'd probably get hammered for meeting even if she wanted to.

Insane: President Ma asked to sit down and have a meeting with DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen after he had already met personally with China's ARATS chief. Not once previous to that did he think it meeting with Tsai would be productive.

One of the more bizarre aspects of Taiwanese democracy is the complete lack of high level contacts between the parties. In say, the US, legislative leadership from both parties meet frequently with the President, and aids and lower level people are maintaining contact and conducting negotiations almost constantly. Otherwise, stupid policies like the bailout would never have a chance of passing Congress and winning the president's signature. Things are similar in most European parliamentary systems, where the majority and the opposition have frequent exchanges (not shouting matches). The lack of this level of contacts in Taiwan is one of the major reasons you so rarely see bi-partisan legislation, compromises or even

But not so in Taiwan. First, note the relative importance of the party apparatus here (a relic of Leninist party organization). The most important person in the DPP is the party's chair, not the secretary-general of the legislative caucus. In a case like the KMT's, which has a similar organizational structure, the fact that Ma Ying-jeou is president while Wu Po-hsiung is party chief has caused friction or different stances at various times, despite efforts to work together.

Second, there's such fundamental ideological opposition to each other, it's little wonder the parties have trouble even coming together at a dinner party. At least as importantly, boycotting the other party and minimizing dialog are political tactics used to demonstrate strength, while offering to have talks at inappropriate times is used to feign sincerity.

1 comment:

STOP Ma said...

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Good point, A-gu!

In Canada, we've had a minority government (parliamentary system) for quite a few years now. In this situation, it is political suicide to not meet with the opposition.
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