Sunday, April 17, 2011

A case against combining the elections

Merging the presidential and legislative elections would save the nation about NT$470mn; a 3 percent pay raise for public servants would impose an estimated NT$22bn burden on state finances every year

With legislative and presidential elections scheduled for the end of this year and March next year, the government has made the case for a merger of the two important votes, arguing that holding them separately, as is mandated under the prevailing system, imposes too heavy a burden on the national coffers.

Although cost-saving measures and convenience for the public are hard to argue against, we should not lose sight of the benefits of the current system, however unwieldy and costly it may be.

The principal advantage of staggered presidential and legislative elections is that it increases the frequency by which the public can impose checks on the executive. Optimally, legislative polls should be held halfway through a presidential term, which would give the public enough time to assess the effectiveness of the government’s policies and, with their vote, adjust legislative checks (restraints) on or support for the executive.

Conversely, if the two elections were to be held simultaneously, the public would have to wait a full four years before it could use its vote to express support for or opposition to the executive and thereby ensure that the appropriate correctives are made.

My op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


mike said...

That the KMT have done this in such a way as to leave a four-month gap between the elections and the assumption of a new administration - gives me the creeps. I think these might well be the last competitive elections of their kind in Taiwan for the forseeable future.

As much as I despise the commies in the DPP, I cannot escape the implications of what the KMT are doing.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

Gives me the creeps as well, Mike. Something's afoot.