In the aftermath of the elections, everyone is scrambling to determine which seats are empty and who should fill them. I don’t have much to say now about those choices except that most media reports suggest the new Premier and Vice Premier will be Chen Chong 陳沖 and Chiang Yi-hua 江宜華 (currently Vice Premier and Interior Minister), a couple of technocrats. I want politicians! Look, I understand that the Ma is worried about the international financial markets, but didn’t he learn his lesson before with Liu Chao-hsuan 劉兆玄? The Premier needs to be good at political communication, not just good at understanding public policy. [Frozen Garlic is probably the only voice arguing for more 政客!]
Speaker Wang Jin-pyng 王金平 made my day today by suggesting that electoral reform might be a good idea. I love this guy! He is worried by the disproportionality of the current system, the fact that it crushes small parties, and, most of all, that the blue areas are becoming bluer and the green areas are becoming greener. He probably feels this personally, since the KMT incumbent in his hometown got swept away in the local DPP tide.
As I wrote a couple of months ago, I absolutely hate the current system. Almost anything would be better, including going back to the old system. The DPP’s preferred option is a MMP (mixed member proportional; for details, see the linked essay) system. However, after watching the DPP’s debacle in determining its party list this year, I don’t think an MMP system would be the best choice for Taiwan? What would be the best choice? I believe an Open List Proportional Representation system would fit the bill almost perfectly.
I’m not going to get too excited, though. While the Liberty Times report was very positive, the United Daily News report was much more reserved. Lots of people in the KMT like the current system since they believe it works for their party and for them personally. As they [reasonably] point out, the DPP was the party that insisted on the change in 2005. Now that the DPP has lost a couple of elections under the system, it has decided that maybe this system isn’t so great. In other words, you got what you wished for, so now you have to live with it. [I will never forgive Lin Yi-hsiung 林義雄 for this disastrous electoral system.]
One thing the DPP has discussed is asking the Council of Grand Justices to rule whether the current electoral system violates the constitutional principle of each vote being equal. I don’t like this idea at all. The electoral system is written in the constitution. It can’t be unconstitutional if it is in the constitution. I certainly don’t want unelected judges to decide which part of the constitution is more constitutional than some other part of the constitution. If you want to change the constitution, don’t take the lazy route and rely on judges. That would set a very dangerous precedent. The solution has to come through the political process of amending the constitution.