Friday, September 20, 2013

Ma-Wang notes -- 2016?

Tea farms on Alishan

Some random thoughts on the Ma-Wang disaster for the KMT. Frozen Garlic wrote....
....The judges have been around a little longer and are less idealistic and more political. This is probably a selection effect, with the politically reliable ones getting promoted. The higher up the court system you go, the more political the court supposedly is. So it isn’t surprising that Ma lost in the lower court. Experience tells us that the higher courts will be more sympathetic to his arguments. Today, right on cue, High Court judges were randomly assigned to the case. Wang had asked for a public lottery, but the court insisted on doing it through a random computer process. Magically, the lead judge is married to a senior KMT figure who actually ran for the legislature under the KMT banner many years ago. The talk shows are abuzz questioning whether the assignment was really random.
Couple of things I'd like to note. First, I think Froze is correct in noting higher court judges are more ideological/political -- a lot of them are older civil servants from the 1980s when entrants into the bureaucracy were vetted to make sure they have properly pro-KMT political views. So the whole system appears biased, and it will take two generations for any such bias to work itself out of the System. I also think the lower court realized its ruling didn't matter, since whatever it said would be appealed. So the Court decided to have a little fun and then kick the case upstairs for its true resolution.

Another issue here is Wang's request for a public lottery for the judge selection. That's pretty much an admission that he strongly suspects the computer system is rigged.

2016 now looms. Wang will be 75 and too old to be a candidate. Wu Den-yi, the Vice President, is not a congenial figure. Hau Long-bin, the mayor of Taipei, got elected in a city where they'd vote for the dead, rotting carcass of a dog on a stick if it were the KMT candidate.

What's interesting is what this case may be saying about the chances of Eric Chu, the younger rising star of the KMT, and Jiang Yi-huah, the current premier. The media started mentioning that Jiang might be a dark horse candidate for 2016 a while back. Chu is half-Taiwanese while Jiang's parents are mainlanders from Fujian. For Deep Blue ideologues like Ma who regard the ROC as "theirs", Taiwanese are inferiors and outsiders. If there really is an ethnic element to this assault on Wang by Ma, it may strengthen Jiang's position among the KMT's mainlander elites as a potential 2016 candidate, who have marginalized powerful Taiwanese like Wu Po-hsiung and Wang Jin-pyng. More practically, Jiang is close to Ma and Ma may further view him as one way Ma can rule Taiwan from beyond the political grave of 2016, if Ma can retain his grip on the KMT. Of course, this is a chain of speculations. I need to find a less potent brand of alcohol....

The letter from THRAC in yesterday's Taipei Times listed out some of the alleged constitutional improprieties:
By reporting to the president and then releasing the transcript at a press conference — without laying any charges — the SID grossly violated laws requiring nondisclosure of its investigations and has confirmed suspicions that it is a political tool of the KMT. There are also questions about the legality and propriety of the wiretap.


These actions constituted (to use his words) “improper influence at the highest level,” abuse of the office of president and violation of the separation of powers fundamental to a democracy. Ma then acted in his capacity as KMT chairman to have Wang’s party membership suspended and remove him as a legislator-at-large.

This confusion of Ma’s two roles as president and party chairman looks like a return to the old party-state practices of the KMT.

Third, contempt of the legislature. By using an internal KMT party process to remove its speaker, Ma has seriously violated the rights of the legislature. The speaker of the legislature is elected by its members. The legislature oversees the president. Now Ma has used his power as party chairman to become the overseer of the legislature. This has serious implications for KMT proportional vote legislators who must worry about a party chairman who can remove them so easily.
A vast crisis, now in suspension while the Court rules on it. All of it triggered by Ma's own actions, which he did not have to take.
Daily Links:
  • WSJ with a strong round up of the MaWangMess.
  • Economist's round up of the MaWangMess: except for the ridiculous remark about reunification, the write up is great improvement over the hilarious Ma the Bumbler bumblement. But the Economist, strangely, continues to support Ma, who seeks to deliver Taiwan into the orbit of a Communist one-party state, rather than the DPP, which supports an independent capitalist democracy. Well, maybe not so strange, considering the Economist's real values....
  • Haha. Suddenly the US can't afford to sell Taiwan F-16s. And so the merry-go-round continues. Nobody wants Taiwan to have F-16s except the DPP government.
  • Taiwan seizes 820 kilograms of dolphin meat. Dolphin meat is always available if you know where to ask. 
  • Dapu: Miaoli County Chief confronted by protesters. The police parted the crowd for him and let him in to pay his respects to Mr. Chang. However, when protest leaders stopped by the home to visit the body, the police would not let them in. 
  • Taiwan dry bulk shipping firms to get boost from China trade.
  • The BBC has an article on Taiwan's problems with innovation. Its identification of Taiwan's mom-n-pop management as an obstacle is spot on, but sadly it sees "innovation" solely in terms of a narrow slice of electronics firms. Taiwan's textile, machine tool, bike, sporting goods, and other industries, the lifeblood of the island's industrial heartland in central Taiwan, are ignored in this piece, as they are in so many others. Also, BBC's longtime institutional pro-China stance is especially irksome in this context -- one reason Taiwan firms moved to China was to avoid the kind of upgrading of tech and innovation and management BBC (correctly) advocates here and instead prolong dependence on the old low-wage manufacturing strategies of the 1960-80s. BBC is thus in the position of someone who shoots your parents and then laments the fact that you are an orphan.....
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Taiwan Echo said...

Ma Yingjeou made phone calls to the heads and editors of 2 tv stations and 3 news agencies to "have a talk" with them:

馬致電媒體高層 立委斥伸黑手

Brian Schack said...

One thing that has puzzled me ever since the KMT chairmanship election is Ma's seeming stranglehold on the party. The guy has a 10% approval rating, for Pete's sake - why is the KMT so in thrall to him? On the surface, I would think the KMT would be trying to ditch him as fast as possible, but the opposite seems to be true. Why?