Su: Consensus needed on constitutional reform to avoid strife

Su: Consensus needed on constitutional reform to avoid strife

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang announced last week that he will push for a conference to make long-needed revisions in the constitution, yet to date he has not laid out a timeline for the conference or what revisions he would like to see in the constitution. Following a Monday morning press conference introducing the six aboriginal candidates backed by the DPP in upcoming city council elections, Su told reporters that a very high degree of consensus is needed to effect constitutional reform, and he is deliberately refraining from injecting any personal opinions on revisions at this stage in order to avoid stirring up controversy. He pointed out that there are many problems with the constitution and the make-up of the central government system; and If the DPP tries to bring about reform without a strong consensus on its own aims, the whole thing will break down in bickering and go nowhere.

Su was asked his position on the matter of party chairs who run for public office, one of the issues raised in Sunday’s debate between Tsai Ing-wen and Lin Kuo-tai. Su said that as outgoing party chairman he felt he should not express an opinion on this issue, He urged party members to examine the positions of the two candidates in the chairmanship election and make their own decisions on the matter.

Su also declined to comment on what plans he has for his recently-established foundation. He said he will have more time to spend on the organization once he leaves office as party chairman next week, and he will make more announcements as plans develop for the foundation.

Su added that at the moment he cannot offer a specific response on suggestions for constitutional reform and whether Taiwan should work toward a cabinet system or a presidential system in the future. He noted that while Taiwan has gone through seven different constitutional amendments, there are still many aspects of the charter that are very difficult to implement. For example, he said, there are many situations in which the president has rights but no responsibilities, and as a result many good policies cannot be implemented while many bad policies cannot be overturned.

In addition, said Su, the Executive Yuan shirks many of its responsibilities and the Legislative Yuan is constantly embroiled in arguments. The result is a lot of wasted effort and time, and the people of Taiwan are the losers in this situation. Su noted that change is needed, and quickly, but the high threshold needed to make changes in the system means that the opposition must reach a consensus before attempting to bring about any reforms in the Constitution..

Su said last week he threw out a list of seven constitutional reforms that need to be made, explaining that he was just “tossing out bricks to see if anyone else would throw out jade,” as a common Chinese saying puts it. He emphasized that he hopes to achieve a consensus on what reforms are needed in the Constitution, including changes in the central government system and the nation’s election system. Su noted that the 318 student movement generated a good deal of momentum for tasks like constitutional reform, and it is time for everyone to “sit down together and devise ways to work out problems in the fundamental laws of the nation.”

Updated : 2021-02-25 10:27 GMT+08:00