Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Significance of 2.6 Million Signatures on the Petition to Join the UN

The Significance of 2.6 Million Signatures on the Petition to Join the UN
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 7, 2007

One must not underestimate the significance of the 2.6 million signatures on the Democratic Progressive Party's "Petition to Join the UN." If each petitioner pulls in an additional 1.5 signatures for the presidential election, then the Hsieh/Su ticket will receive 6.7 million votes. If so a Hsieh/Su victory is already in hand.

For each person to pull in an additional 1.5 votes is within the realm of possibility. If they fail to achieve this, it will be due to two reasons: One, these 2.6 million signatures represent the upper limit of support for the Democratic Progressive Party. Society's repugnance for the Democratic Progressive Party's corruption and incompetentence is intense. Little support can be found for the DPP beyond these 2.6 million signatures. Two, the Kuomintang and Pan Blues will find a way to inspire voters, and prevent the Democratic Progressive Party's support from expanding beyond these 2.6 million petitioners.

The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is different from the 2004 "Guided Missile Plebiscite" and "Cross Straits Plebiscite." In 2004 the two plebiscites were "Presidential Plebiscites" which bypassed the bottom up petition drive process. It was akin to the unidirectional Web 1.0. The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is a bottom up "Petitioners' Plebiscite." It is akin to the interactive Web 2.0. The "Petitioners' Plebiscite" has already become an interactive machine for political mobilization. This of course is one reason why the Referendum Law strictly prohibits the government from sponsoring petition drives for plebisicites in the first place.

The purpose of the petition drive for the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is to "package deal" the plebiscite with the presidential election. It has meaning on two levels: First, those who signed the petition have in effect publicly declared that they intend to vote for the Democratic Progressive Party. Breaking through the 2.6 million mark may lead to a form of herd behavior. Second, those who signed the petition consider their motive for signing the "Petition to Join the UN" to be "Love for Taiwan." They consider it an act of transcendence. By this time, the Democratic Progressive Party's corruption and incompetence have either faded from the petitioner's memory, or receded to secondary significance. They are no longer the determinant that will decide how he or she will vote. By this time, the Democratic Progressive Party has already benefitted from the shift in voter focus.

The reasons why the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" has made so much progress to date are manifold. This paper mentioned one reason in an editorial. The Kuomintang, in response to the "Plebiscite to Join the UN," has chosen to fan the smoke of Taiwanese consciousness. It lacks the determination to extinguish the flames of Taiwan independence consciousness. Even the US has implied that the "Plebsicite to Join the UN" is a "Taiwan independence Plebiscite" and said that it was both unnecessary and counterproductive. Yet the Kuomintang chose to affirm the "Taiwanese consciousness" embodied within the plebiscite. It hasn't had the courage to confront the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" at the level of "Taiwan independence consciousness." So far the Kuomintang has failed to draw a clear distinction between its own "Plebiscite to Rejoin the UN" and the Democratic Progressive Party's "Plebiscite to Join the UN." Instead it has jumped on the bandwagon, effectively endorsing the Democratic Progressive Party's election platform.

Another reason is that the Democratic Progressive Party has flagrantly misappropriated government funds and coerced civil service officials into participating in "Plebiscite to Join the UN" activities. There is little doubt it has violated the Referendum Law. But the Kuomintang has no effective countermeasures. This has encouraged the Democratic Progressive Party to up its ante and behave even more unscrupulously. The Democratic Progressive Party argues that that the government merely initiated a movement to "Join the UN," that it never promoted a plebiscite. It argues that "Joining the UN is something both the Blue and Green camps agree upon," and that the "Kuomintang is also sponsoring a Rejoin the UN campaign." The Kuomintang has allowed itself to come under attack from all sides. Chen Shui-bian has publicly admitted that his intention all along was to package deal the plebiscite with the presidential election. The Kuomintang has watched idly as Chen Shui-bian misappropriated public funds and coerced civil service officials into participating in their plebiscite/election. The Democratic Progressive Party has been using the state treasury as its war chest, and government agencies as its campaign committee. The evidence is clear, yet the Kuomintang has done nothing. Only when the Central Election Committee announced its "single stage balloting process" did the Kuomintang belatedly realize it had to take action.

The impact of over 2.6 million people signing the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" petition must not be underestimated. As noted earlier, one of factors that led to this state of affairs is the public's lack of vigilance regarding the distinction between "Taiwanese consciousness" and "Taiwan independence consciousness." This has enabled the Democratic Progressive Party to play with the fires of "Taiwan independence consciousness," and to raise clouds of Taiwanese consciousness smoke. This has enabled the DPP to use the smoke of Taiwanese consciousness to hide the fire of Taiwan independence consciousness. Another factor is widespread indifference to the Democratic Progressive Party's violations of the constitution and the law. The ruling DPP has misappropriated public funds and dragooned civil service officials into the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" campaign. The judiciary and the general public neither care about right and wrong, nor are they able to do anything about it.

The 2.6 million person petition drive on behalf of a "Plebiscite to Join the UN" amounts to the biggest hijacking incident in history. If the base of 2.6 million petitioners can be expanded to its full extent, it will amount to the most formidable political machine in history. The Kuomintang is surrounded on all sides, like the defenders of the Alamo. This late in the game, it has at most five countermeasures: One: File suit against the government for violating the Referendum Law. But do prosecutorial agencies have the courage to prosecute? Two: Demand a constitutional interpretation. Accuse the government of violating the Referendum Law. Again, can the Council of Grand Justices actually be believed? Three: Attempt to draw a bright line of distinction between "Taiwanese consciousness" and "Championing of Taiwan independence." Done skillfully, this could pull the rug out from under the Green camp. If the fires of Taiwan independence can be extinguished, the smoke of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" will dissipate. But does the Kuomintang have the ability to tackle this issue? If it does not, then the Republic of China, nourished by the blood of martyrs, will perish due to Kuomintang ineptitude, routed by the stillborn fetus that is the "Nation of Taiwan." Four: The Kuomintang can attempt to set the election agenda, It can make the most of its candidate's character traits and appeal to the electorate's economic hopes and aspirations. But does the Kuomintang have this ability? Five: The Kuomintang can win the legislative election. On the strength of a legislative victory, it can set the tone for the presidential election to come. But the question as always is, does the Kuomintang have this ability?

The Democratic Progressive Party's "Plebiscite to Join the UN" petition drive has collected 2.6 million signatures. This is nothing to sneeze at. If these 2.6 million petitioners can pull in enough additional votes, the future will already be decided.

2007.11.07 03:38 am




此 次「入聯公投」,與二○○四的「買飛彈公投」及「兩岸關係公投」不同。二○○四的兩項公投是「總統公投」,由上而下,未經連署,猶如單向操作的 Web1.0;但此次「入聯公投」則是由下而上的「連署公投」,猶如雙向互動的Web2.0。如今,「連署公投」不啻已經成為雙向互動的「選舉動員」機 器;這也正是《公投法》嚴禁政府發動「連署公投」的原因之一。

連署「入聯公投」的作用,是在「公投綁大選」,有兩層意義:一、簽名連署者 形同公開表態願將選票投給民進黨;而連署人數衝破二六○萬,更可使連署的「眾趨行為」更具社會示範效應。二、連署者接受了「入聯公投」,自認為連署的動機 在「愛台灣」,人格境界儼然進入昇華;此時,民進黨的貪腐無能已在連署者腦中消失,或退居次位,不再成為影響其投票的因素。於是,民進黨已收轉移選戰焦點 之效。

「入聯公投」取得今日進展,因素非止一端。原因之一是,如本報社論日前所說,國民黨在因應「入聯公投」時,只知「搧台灣意識的煙, 未能滅台獨意識的火」;連美國當局都將「入聯公投」暗指為「台獨公投」,並謂其「不必且不利」;但國民黨卻僅知在「台灣意識層次」肯定公投,而未能在「台 獨意識層次」討論「入聯公投」的底蘊。迄今為止,國民黨並未將其「返聯公投」與民進黨的「入聯公投」作出明確的「差異化」,反而成了「拿香跟拜」,形同為 民進黨背書。

另一原因是,民進黨公然動支政府公帑及動員公務員參與「入聯公投」活動,確有是否違反《公投法》的疑義。但是,國民黨在這方 面迄無有效反制,遂使民進黨變本加厲,更加肆無忌憚。民進黨說,政府只是發動「入聯」,並未鼓吹「公投」,再加上一句「入聯已是藍綠共識,國民黨亦倡返 聯」,國民黨就陷於全面挨打的地位。其實,陳水扁亦公開承認,「公投」之目的就是「綁大選」;國民黨卻眼看著陳水扁用盡公帑及公務員去「綁大選」,形同用 國庫及政府為民進黨輔選;事態如此昭然,國民黨竟仍是無計可施。直至中選會擬採「一階段領投票」,國民黨才知採取較強硬的反制行動。

「入 聯公投」連署超過二六○萬人,其效應不可輕估。如前所述,情勢之所以進展至今,主因之一是,社會大眾對「台灣意識」與「台獨意識」的分際沒有警覺,致使民 進黨得以「操作台獨意識的火,燒起台灣意識的煙;又用台灣意識的煙,掩飾台獨意識的火」。另一主因則是,司法及社會對民進黨違憲違法,動員公帑及公務員推 動「入聯公投」的罪行,既無是非心,又無制裁力。

二六○萬人連署「入聯公投」,已形成選舉史上最大的「綁票工程」;而二六○萬連署人向外 擴展的拉票能量若充分施展,亦是選舉史上最強大的動員機器。國民黨處此情境,已如四面楚歌。亡羊補牢,不外五途:一、訴訟,控告政府違反《公投法》,但檢 察機關有勇氣查察嗎?二、釋憲,指控政府違反《公投法》,同樣的,大法官會議能相信嗎?三、設法將「台灣意識」與「台獨主張」徹底區隔清楚,釜底抽薪, 「台獨」的「真火」若熄了,「入聯」的「假煙」就會散去;但是,國民黨有能力處理這個議題嗎?否則,何以一個血汗凝結的中華民國,在國民黨的操作下,卻一 直敵不過台灣國那個政治死胎?四、國民黨設法扭轉選戰主題,向候選人人格特質及民生願景發展;但是,國民黨有此能耐嗎?五、國民黨全力贏取立委選舉的大 勝,主導民心走向;仍是,國民黨有此能耐嗎?


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