Chinese Politics Reading Notes.docx

The wisdom coalition blazed the trail in april 1988

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The Wisdom Coalition blazed the trail in April 1988 Leaders of this club included Huang Chu-wen, Wu Tzu, Lin Yu-hsiang, and, before his appointment as party whip, Jaw Ying- chi. The DPP’s clear cut policy stand on democratic reform, which was quite popular, could have discredited the newly elected KMT members in the eyes of the electorate The Wisdom Coalition used political reform to impress their voters, a bold strategy that differentiated them from the other co-opted new legislators, who used the delivery of political pork, with the assistance of old-timers to consolidate their constituencies electoral support The rise of legislative factionalism in Taiwan is also attributable to its peculiar electoral system: the single, nontransferable vote (SNTV), multiple member district system Elections under SNTV tend to be more volatile, expensive, and conducive to family feuds than other systems, such as proportional representation or the single member district system The source of volatility lies in the fact that the number of candidates nominated by both the ruling and opposition parties is quite unpredictable, as are the patterns of vote distribution It takes effort and money, usually from endless gift giving for a variety of occasions to cultivate one’s own electoral base When multiple member competition becomes extremely keen, candidates may even be tempted to purchase swing votes that may drastically increase the probability of winning Factional affiliation conceivably can help a candidate solve the problems under the SNTV system: It can enhance one’s chance for renomination Raise political funds Enhance one’s image Reduce attrition in electoral mobilization
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Because the party label cannot distinguish one candidate from the competing candidates of the same party, a candidate needs to create his/her own specific, easily recognizable image; forge a distinct reputation; and build up a personal network so as to prevent one’s support base from being eroded by others Under the SNTV system, a political party needs to nominate an optimal number of candidates, as too long or too short a list means wasted votes that do not translate into seats for a party Factional membership in Taiwan’s legislature means sharing political information, lending support in the interpellations, and improving the chances of become convenors or co convenors of legislative committees, all without any obligation attached such as bloc voting Can also help a candidate communicate to potential supporters and economize the cost of building his/her image and reputation An agreement between factions can also reduce cutthroat competition among fellow party candidates in the same distract The factions in Taiwan’s legislature lack internal discipline, as reflected in multiple overlapping memberships, the predatory recruitment of faction members and absence of bosses Multiple membership is a hindrance to a faction collective action because it leads to information leakage and undermines group cohesion
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