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Oct 20, 2011

Hold on there cowboy

So Michael Turton has covered Ma's latest public push for a peace treaty pretty well. But I want to add information on the latest twist: the KMT is going to push for a referendum related to the treaty!

But they won't actually put the agreement itself to a referendum and ask people to pass it. Instead, they're going to try to hold a referendum on the concept of the peace treaty and then begin the detailed negotiations.  The administration is claiming this will satisfy the "public support" precondition that Ma attached to a peace agreement.

This strikes me as a smart political strategy -- because if you just ask "do you want peace?" without outlining actual details of the agreement, you're likely to get a positive response -- but the KMT is going to hit the road block the DPP came up against in the past of getting over 50% of voters to cast any sort of ballot on the referendum. 

The good news there is the KMT could consider revising the referendum law, although I think there would be serious reservations about handling that double-edged sword.

The other danger the KMT faces is the referendum turning out "invalid" due to lack of meeting the voter threshold. Will they argue, as they have in the past, that it constitutes the same as a rejection, a win for the "no" vote, and that for at least three years the policy can't be touched again?

The DPP will find it difficult in principle to oppose the referendum, although I doubt they'll find it difficult to boycott this one, since a boycott constitutes the most effective "no" vote.

Also, I should yell "IT'S A TRAP!" but I'll leave that to others.

1 comment:

skiingkow said...

"...a boycott constitutes the most effective "no" vote..."

I'm not sure I agree with that.

The KMT could spin a referendum that did not garner enough votes more than they could if Taiwan voted "NO" on the concept of a peace treaty. A clear "NO" vote would kill the possibility of the treaty with the PandaMa administration. Period.

And I don't think the DPP would lose political points for advocating a "NO" vote in this situation. They only have to communicate that they do not believe China and Taiwan relations are at a point where a Peace Treaty is feasible for the interests of Taiwan. They can also reiterate that when that time comes, the DPP has no problems engaging in a Peace Treaty process.

The "time has not yet arrived" argument is still a valid one for a "NO" vote.