Monday, June 26, 2006

DPP and the Recall

As David at jujuflop pointed out a while back, dissolving the legislature may provoke a serious governmental crisis in Taiwan. Yesterday the Taipei Times published a commentary from a DPP insider on the problems this is likely to create for the parties, and the advantages that will accrue to the KMT.

Everyone knows that the pan-blue camp's motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is merely the warm-up act. The real show-stopper will be the pan-blues' vote of no confidence in the Cabinet that may be called in September.

The objectives of such a vote would be two-fold: To vent pan-blue supporters' anger in the likely event that the recall bill falls flat on its face, and bring down Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) -- at present the only potential presidential candidate to pose a threat to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) -- restore balance and incite a power struggle among the four major figures of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- namely Su, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun.

The more the DPP is in disarray, the less its members will be able to put on the facade of unity to single out their best presidential candidate. Under such circumstances, Ma would have a better chance of winning the upcoming presidential elections.

Even though kicking Su out of office would be an illegitimate move, pan-blue supporters believe that regardless of what they do to maintain Ma's lead in opinion polls, Ma will still enjoy greater gain than loss.

In contrast to the KMT, the DPP seems to rest its faith on chance. The DPP's thinking is that as long as it keeps reminding the KMT of its intent to dismiss the legislature if push comes to shove, the pan-blues will not dare to overstep their bounds.

Victory in such a campaign will probably go to the party that has the best discipline and most cash. That isn't the heavily factionalized DPP.


David said...

"Victory in such a campaign will probably go to the party that has the best discipline and most cash."
Isn't that always the case?

The article makes a few interesting points, but overall the main thing he's saying is "The DPP's a mess". I'm not convinced that the recall/no-confidence will make things any worse - it might be the kick up the arse the DPP so dearly needs. In particular, he says the recall is aimed at "inciting a power struggle between Su Yu Lu and Hsieh". Huh? Haven't we got that already? Let's have a look at what this KMT action does to each of the 4:

Su: 6 months ago everyone (including me) was saying "being named Premier could kill Su's career". Instead he's had a pretty competent few months and is about to be sacrificed by the KMT in their attack on Chen (perhaps *before* it could kill his career). Net result: Public sympathy and a positive impression. DPP 1, KMT 0.

Lu: Protests every week demanding she be made President. I've seen pan-Blues singing her praises (she'll sort out the corruption in the DPP). Plenty of positives for her. DPP 2, KMT 0.

Hsieh: 6 months ago he was "Mr. Corruption" in the DPP. That title has been passed on to Chen, and he's back in the DPP fold. The KMT have almost erased all Hsieh's black marks in their attack on Chen. DPP 3, KMT 0.

Yu: A bit too close to Chen, and as DPP Chairman he should take the blame for the mess in the DPP. Probably hasn't done him any good. DPP 3, KMT 1.

(And of course, Chen is suffering at the moment in all this, but if he stays the KMT's target, they'll be in trouble).

So, by my reckoning 3 out of 4 DPP politicians are being helped by this, while the KMT are running the risk of alienating people with all this. As I've said before, the KMT is gambling heavily when they don't need to.

Michael Turton said...

Yup, that's how I read it for Su. I also thought the Premiership would mean that end of his political career. But now the Blues are going to remove him from his post in a way that can't help but generate sympathy for him. If he stoically endures and doesn't spoil it by silly comments, he'll win thousands of sympathy votes.

I don't think Hsieh will ever overcome the Kaohsiung metro problem. Lu is past her prime and has a reputation for saying anything she pleases. Whatever help the KMT gives those two won't have much effect. Voters have an idea about those two. Su will benefit the most.

The KMT has to be aware of this. Therefore they will have to go after Su in order to bring him down. Otherwise simply slaying the government will not sit well. At the moment the KMT is a cart rolling downhill toward an abyss. The recall seems to have acquired a life of its own. I think if the KMT can maintain the momentum of accusations, it won't backfire.

But what will happen come October when the nation has no functioning government -- no Control Yuan, No executive, no chief executive, no examination Yuan, no legislature, and no top prosecutor. The Blues have successfully slain the whole government. And China has promised that they will come over in the event of chaos in Taiwan...


redwagon said...

"The Blues have successfully slain the whole government. And China has promised that they will come over in the event of chaos in Taiwan..."
Sadly, I think this has been the blue meanies plan all along.