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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

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Referendums on the Referendum Law and the ECFA

It is my understanding that so far the representatives that participated in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) negotiations were not non-partisan -- all were from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). If the KMT government had any good intentions or plans for the future of Taiwan, they could have assembled and sent a team of Taiwan’s economic experts and scholars to the ECFA negotiation table.

Since the ECFA is a tool to be used by the KMT to sell out Taiwan’s economic strength and independence in order to pave a smooth road for future political integration with China, the DPP should be extra cautious.

The DPP seems to be falling into the enemy’s trap, and the people of Taiwan who are not so familiar with the issue but who trust the DPP’s judgment are being taken along into that trap.

A more correct approach, in my opinion, would be to sort out the priorities of the topics of the various referendums.

The first priority should be the Referendum Law itself, then the ECFA. Otherwise, the ECFA referendum will be a waste of human resources and will again result in a heart-breaking outcome.

The Referendum Law itself needs to be amended by a referendum first, not by the Legislative Yuan because the LY is the source of all problems, blocking Taiwan’s stability and growth.

Look at how the referendum law was formed back in 2003.

Read the article "The real significance of Taiwan's referendum law" written December 2, 2003 by Laurence Eyton, and take notes of the following (if you read the whole op-ed, you will have to scroll down quite a bit to find the text below):

…the [DPP] only complained about the shortcomings of the new law because major elements of the DPP's bill were omitted.

The pan-blues were not, however, prepared to pass the DPP's bill. Instead, they wrote their own and introduced it into the legislature too. During the summer, inter-party haggling caused the session to run out of time before the bill passed. But this time around - instead of the parties trying to agree on a reconciled version of the two different bills before voting - they simply voted clause by clause. The result was that while a couple of DPP-written clauses made it to the version that finally passed, most of the new act became a pan-blue creation.

Unlike the DPP's initial proposal, in the new act the executive [Bloggers note: President? or the Executive Yuan?] has no right to initiate a referendum, only the legislature [Blogger’s note: so easy!] and a popular initiative [Blogger’s note: the procedure is so difficult and time and resource consuming to collect people’s signatures] can do so, and only the legislature can call a referendum on a constitutional matter.

So instead of wasting time and resources on the ECFA, first tackle the referendum law itself, and let the people vote for the new proposed versions, and allowing each voter to support only one version, either the pan-green version or the pan-blue version.

If each party in Taiwan were to have its own version, there would be too many versions, and it would be too confusing for the public, so I think it’s best to have only two versions: a pan-blue version and a pan-green version.

I am a pan-green person, but I am not a DPP party member, and I am sure a lot of Taiwanese are just like me, they love Taiwan, but they are simply pan-green and nothing else.

In order to present the best version to win Taiwan voters’ approval, both parties will have to find their best scholars and experts to put a complete set of good clauses into the new referendum law.

The pan-green version can be initiated by anyone in the pan-green camp, not necessary a DPP party member. Similarly, the pan-blue version can be initiated by any supporter of the pan-blue camp, not necessary a KMT party member.

Each proposed set of clauses should address the same list of topics, and the topics should be agreed on by each side in advance.

For example:

Topic 1: the issue of who can initiate a referendum,

Topic 2: the issue of who can amend the referendum law in the future, in case the existing referendum law is found to be containing faults

Topic 3: the issue of what percentage of voter turnout is necessary in order to accept the validity of a referendum.

Topic 4: the issue of whether the constitutional matters should only be initiated by the Legislative Yuan

Topic 5: …

And so on.

In my opinion, the ECFA referendum should have been:

你是否同意國民與中國簽訂之經濟合作架構協議(ECFA)交付台灣人民稿?

Translation:
Yes or No: Do you agree that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) wants to sign with China
should first be presented to the citizens of Taiwan for discussion and approval or else be invalidated?

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1 Comments:

At 5:02 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Your version of ECFA referendum topic is much much better than DPP's current one.

One thing: shouldn't we mention "Ma Ying-jeou government" instead of "KMT" ?

It seems to me that it has always been Ma Ying-jeou's agenda to sign ECFA with China.

 

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