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KMT: How Can the DPP Flip-Flop on Constitutional Issues?


KMT Press Release
KMT: How Can the DPP Flip-Flop on Constitutional Issues?
KMT Culture and Communications Committee
May 26, 2014
DPP Chairwoman-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) contributed an article to media outlets on May 26, in which she argued that it was important to amend the Constitution to increase the number of Legislative seats and lower the threshold for a plebiscite’s passage.   
In response, Chen Yi-hsin (陳以信), deputy director of the KMT Culture and Communications Committee, who doubles as KMT spokesman, stated that several years ago, the DPP was a strong advocate for reducing the number of the Legislative seats from the original 225 to 113 and setting a “double 1/2 thresholds” for a plebiscite to pass. However, “the DPP of today” has negated “the DPP of yesterday” in a dramatic move. How can people put their trust in the DPP as it is always flip-flopping?    
Chen stated that a decade ago, it was the DPP that proposed halving the number of Legislative seats and took the lead in pushing to amend the Constitution. The KMT, an opposition party at the time, threw its weight behind the DPP’s cause. The DPP’s proposal was finally adopted, partly thanks to a sit-in cum fasting launched by former DPP chairman Lin Yi-xiong (林義雄). However, in less than a decade, the DPP’s position has flip-flopped and the DPP is demanding that the number of Legislative seats be doubled. Here, we would like to ask: Under such circumstances, how can the nation maintain   Constitutional stability? The root of the chaos in the Legislative Yuan lies not in the number of legislators but in the irrational attitude of legislators from the opposition parties. For instance, they are wont to forcibly occupy the Legislative Speaker’s podium in order to paralyze the proceedings of the Legislative Chamber. Now, the DPP has proposed doubling the number of Legislative seats in a hasty manner. This can hardly be accepted by the public.            
Tsai Ing-wen argued in her article that the Plebiscite Act (公投法) was an act that was designed at a time when the KMT was a majority and the DPP, a minority, in the Legislative Yuan, insinuating that the KMT was to blame for what she called the “Bird Cage Plebiscite Act.” In response, Chen Yi-hsin blasted Tsai for distorting the facts. Chen pointed out that during the legislative deliberations of the Plebiscite Bill, the ruling and the opposition parties had submitted a total of four proposals, including the Executive Yuan (Cabinet) version, the DPP version, the Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) version endorsed by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the KMT version. All four versions had endorsed a “double 1/2 threshold” for a plebiscite to be valid and to pass. The Plebiscite Bill sailed through the Legislative Yuan in the end without any obstruction from the opposition parties. In light of this, how can the DPP make an about-face to deny its own decision made just years ago?          
Chen Yi-hsin stated that the threshold for a plebiscite to be valid as stipulated in the Plebiscite Act was definitely not the strictest in the world, adding that among the 34 countries that hold referendums or plebiscites, 10 countries have set up a “1/2 threshold.” 
Chen Yi-hsin stated that all six plebiscites had failed to pass under the Chen Shui-bian’s administration during 2000 to 2008 not because the threshold was too high, but because most of the topics in the plebiscites were non-issues. In the past, the DPP insisted that plebiscites be linked with the Presidential Election day as part of its campaign strategy, such as a plebiscite to demand that the Mainland remove the missiles targeting Taiwan and a plebiscite on ROC’s UN admission under the name of Taiwan. However, the turnout rates were low as most voters believed that the plebiscite topics were non-issues. Chen Yi-hsin pointed out that, in fact, the turnout rates for the Presidential Elections at the time were over 70%, while participation in the two plebiscite elections was less than 50%, so lowering the plebiscite threshold would only allow certain people to launch plebiscites at will on trivial matters, which cannot really solve any problems.              


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