Political fashion shows are unnecessary

The China Post news staff

A fashion show is an event put on by a fashion designer to showcase his or her upcoming line of clothing during Fashion Week. Models walk the catwalk dressed in the shining new clothing to impress the audience. In Taipei’s Political Fashion Week, which started on Christmas Day, presidential and vice presidential candidates are meeting to make public their political views and debate on television to impress eligible voters who will go to the polls on Jan. 16. Last Friday’s first hustings were sponsored by the Central Election Commission (CEC). All three presidential candidates — Eric Chu of the Kuomintang (KMT), Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) — presented their respective political views. The hustings are mandated. The CEC is the permanent statutory agency under the Executive Yuan or the Cabinet responsible for managing local and national elections in Taiwan. The three standard bearers slung mud against each other, as had been expected. On their cross-strait policy, Soong said practically nothing, while Tsai equivocated by assuring the audience of the maintenance of the unclarified “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait and Chu promised to institutionalize the summit meeting, the first one of which was held between President Ma Ying-jeou and his mainland China counterpart Xi Jinping in Singapore on Nov. 7. These are their campaign promises, few of which can be kept. On the following day, the three running mates had the one and only vice presidential television debate, where they were agreed on support for parliamentary reform as well as on all members of the Legislative Yuan giving up any concurrent posts to remain “full-time lawmakers.” Hsu Hsin-ying of the PFP, Wang Ju-hsuan of the KMT, and Chen Chien-jen of the DPP also concurred that parliamentary efficiency should be improved, but they all admit that the improvement needs amendments to the Constitution that are next to impossible. On the other hand, they were engaged much longer in their mutual character assassination. The first presidential debate took place yesterday. Well, it was almost an exact replication of their hustings on Christmas Day. Tsai elaborated on her “national affairs planning” and repeated her assurance of the status quo between Taiwan and China. Chu talked about economic issues and focused his debate on cross-strait policy. Soong insisted that he could deal with China much better from a position higher than that of Tsai’s and Chu’s, because he is not encumbered by the commitment by the former to the “one China and one Taiwan” dogma or the latter’s “one China with different interpretations” policy.