Democratic miracle almost here
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2016.1.14

Taiwanese go to the ballot boxes on Saturday and mainstream media around the world are focused on the elections. This is not only because a female president looks set to be elected, but also because it will show the international community that Taiwanese voters reject unification with China. That is why it is so important that all voters who identify as Taiwanese must come out on election day to express their wishes and tell China and the world how they feel.

The following are a few things that are required to fully express the public’s opinion.

First, young voters must return to the place of their household registrations to vote. Four years ago, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration moved the voting day to stop young voters from returning home to vote, so people must vote to resist and destroy this scheme. Through spending a little money to go home and vote, the future rewards for the public would be immeasurable.

Next, it is necessary to concentrate voting on the three big parties that are representative of Taiwan-centered interests. After giving the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a legislative majority, the focus must be to bring the New Power Party (NPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) into the legislature to create a strong trinity of Taiwan-centered parties.

As long as the people identifying with Taiwan-centric values are active, tactical voting should make it possible to obtain between a two-thirds and three-quarters legislative majority, which is what is needed to bring about the fall of the party-state system. The NPP’s momentum might help it across the threshold for district representation, while the TSU would have to pass the threshold for legislator-at-large seats that are distributed proportionately based on the party vote.

In addition, it is also important to improve the monitoring of vote-buying activities on the last couple of days before the elections, because that is the period when the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) assets would be most effective in terms of buying votes. It is only by strict controls and severe punishment of vote-buyers that it would be possible to prevent democracy from deteriorating.

All rumor-mongering, dirty tricks and slander should also be swiftly addressed, while at the same time finalizing supervision at the ballot box to prevent any irregularities.

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is the best presidential candidate in the field, and independence activist Su Beng’s (史明) assessment of Tsai is that she is “upright and honest” — in other words, she does not lie, nor is she corrupt — which is a refreshing difference from the greedy, corrupt officials and political charlatans in the party-state apparatus.

At the inauguration of Tsai’s campaign headquarters, her campaign director, Chen Chu (陳菊), introduced Tsai by saying that she is both rational and resolute, and that she emphasizes unity.

Being rational means that she would not let her emotions influence her policymaking and that she would take the best interests of Taiwan into consideration.

For example, this means that she would not provoke China. Her resoluteness means that after having made her policies, she would not be easily swayed when it comes to their implementation, for example on such issues as her refusal to recognize the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Stressing unity does not only mean that she values unity within the party or within the pan-green camp, she also stresses national unity, as is exemplified by her repeating the need for tolerance among ethnic groups and her talk about a coalition government.

This will be the beginning of national unity for all Taiwan, so it is not strange that New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) has said that Tsai represents “an even greater danger” than former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did during his time in office.

China finds itself in trouble domestically and internationally, and in addition to unprecedented diplomatic isolation, the rapid economic deterioration and the possibility of a looming financial crisis, China’s military is in turmoil as a result of ongoing reform.

The intense power struggle within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) itself is further weakening the party’s ability to lead, which means that its attempts at interfering in Taiwan would be less effective.

Taiwan is about to experience a complete transfer of power, including both the Presidential Office and the legislature. This is the glorious moment when Taiwan is to become a fully fledged democracy following diplomatic isolation and the KMT’s long hold on the judiciary, the military and the economy, with the full support of the much feared CCP.

This would not only be a Taiwanese miracle, it would also be a global miracle, as it would have an incalculable importance as encouragement for independence awareness in Hong Kong and for the weiquan civil rights movement in China.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.Translated by Perry Svensson

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