The big political news recently in Taiwan has been how the nomination for prosecutor-general of Hsieh Wen-ding (謝文定) has been blocked by the pan-Blue legislature. Why is the position of prosecutor-general important? Well, here’s one explanation:
Analysts said the role of the top public prosecutor-general has become especially important as the nation’s Control Yuan, the highest watchdog agency empowered to crack down on malfeasance by government officials and agencies, have been in limbo for more than one year.
This paragraph sums up the paralysis gripping Taiwan’s political landscape perfectly. Corruption is a major problem in Taiwan – and yet a whole branch of government (the Control Yuan) responsible for investigating corruption in government has been virtually shut down by the opposition for a year. Of course, the Control Yuan has been a pretty ineffective organisation for decades – but then the opposition also promises to block any constitutional reform to improve that situation. As a result the prosecutor-general becomes a more high-profile and politically significant postion … which results in the opposition blocking the nomination for it.
Of course, maybe the legislature had valid reasons for blocking the nomination. Here’s what Pan Wei-kang, a KMT whip, had to say about the nomination in the two China Post articles i’ve linked to above:
[6th April] Pan agreed that Hsieh’s qualifications are good, but added that whether he can resist partisan or political pressure remains to be seen.
[12th April] Pan Wei-kang, a Kuomintang caucus whip, said the opposition party would consider supporting Hsieh, if he were named again and promised to investigate important cases, including the mystery-shrouded shooting on the eve of the presidential election of 2004.
So, what the KMT want is someone who can resist political pressure, while giving in to KMT demands. Hmm …