Thursday, November 27, 2008

L'État, c'est moi"

I hope every civil servant will keep in mind: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The KMT will honor its sincere commitment to accountability in governance. The new government will be for all the people, remain non-partisan and uphold administrative neutrality. -- Ma Ying-jeou, inaugural speech

Back in July the KMT elected a new Central Standing Committee, a key policymaking body for the Party. The China Post, after recounting who won, observed:

The CSC used to wield power over adopting major national policies and appointments of senior officials to public offices.

Senior Cabinet officials used to take around one-third of the CSC seats.

But none of the incumbent Cabinet members are represented in the new panel this year after President Ma Ying-jeou adopted a new policy of delicately divide the party and the government as part of his alleged aim to make the government serve all people regardless their party lines.

However, the new approach has more or less invited antagonism from the party establishment and lawmakers that are displeased by Ma’s policy of keeping an arms-length distance from his own party.

In the first two paragraphs, the China Post notes that in the old days the CSC was the power behind the Party-State, the old style government. By integrating the cabinet heads into the Central Standing Committee, and having the CSC appoint them, the KMT made sure that the Party and the government were essentially the same thing, and that the Party maintained its grip on the government.

But in comes Ma Ying-jeou, dedicated reformer, dedicated to keeping the party and state apart. How long did that last?

Until this week.

KNN -- the Kuomingtang News Network -- and no, that's not a parody -- had an article up the other day on some of the changes in the KMT structure. The first item of note was the fact that KMT Chair Wu Po-hsiung appointed five more vice-chairpersons to bring the total to eight:

Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung’s nomination of five appointees as the party’s new vice chairpersons was approved at the meeting. The new vice chairpersons include John Chiang, KMT legislator, Wu Den-yi, KMT Secretary-General, Tseng Yung-chuan, Vice Speaker of Legislative Yuan, Eric Chu, Taoyuan County Executive, and Huang Ming-hui (female), Chiayi City Mayor. The five additional vice chairpersons give the KMT representation in the legislature and local governments.

Take a gander at the last sentence -- a frank observation that the purpose of the move is to integrate the party leadership with the local governments. Further down the article declaims:

In addition, the meeting approved amendments to the Party Constitution as follows: 1) add six more “designated members” to the Central Standing Committee appointed by the Chairman, five for cabinet-level heads and one reserved for the president of the KMT National Youth Federation;

What happened to Party and State separation? Apparently, it got lost in the integration of the cabinet heads with the Party. As I've said before, just regard Ma's inaugural speech as a 1800 backwards road map of the future.


discover.greece said...

This is also part of Ma's inaugural speech, and see what Ma's administration is doing now? Only 6 months later...:
reference to
Taiwan's democracy will ensure that there be no more illegal wiretapping, or selective prosecution, or political interference on media and on the governing body in charge of elections. This is our common wishes, and the goal of our next stage's democratic reform.

Anonymous said...

When every man confronts middle age and growing old... he desperately tries to cling to his fading youth.

Ma Ying-jiu is trying to cling to what he remembers as his golden years... 1970's Taiwan.

Unfortunately, his mid-life crisis is concurrently ours.

Tommy said...

It's things like this that make me shake my head sometimes and internally mumble that if assimilation with China happens, many Taiwanese will get exactly what was coming to them. My head shaking may just increase next month if Ma's popularity rises as the shopping vouchers get distributed.

Anonymous said...

It is important to note that the DPP administration had been fairly non-partisan. The executive branch was in check by the blue-dominated legislature, and there were several KMT cabinet members. Even the Taiwanese representatives in the US were KMT members until 2007. Ma, who publicly promised a non-partisan government, has done much only to eliminate any posible opposition.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ma famous for making speeches and then doing the exact opposite?

Anonymous said...

The thing is... the DPP is usually so inept in their campaigning... they'll probably never use all the dirt on Ma.

Anonymous said...

>>>they'll probably never use all the dirt on Ma.

So DPP still have more powerful dirt not yet used? I thought what they have pulled out so far are already amazingly (and shamelessly) powerful