經濟學人:馬是最不受歡迎總統之一 Most distracted guest at the party ◎自由時報+經濟學人 10-06-2013

敬請支持‧歡迎訂閱本報newsletter

Most distracted guest at the party 馬英九

 

〔本報訊〕據蘋果日報報導,英國雜誌《經濟學人》在最新一期刊物當中,首先點出「馬英九可能是台灣史上最不受歡迎的民選總統之一」,再接著指出,這次台灣能重返國際民航組織(ICAO)大會,可見馬英九仍有能力在外交上做出突破。

9.2%總統 台灣民選總統史上罕見

歡迎訂閱本報newsletter

由於「馬王政爭」使得國會空轉多日,支持馬英九的民意降到只剩9.2%;英國雜誌《經濟學人》在最新一期刊物中評論,馬英九聲望雖低,但他在外交上的努力仍受外界肯定。

但文中指出「台灣開放總統直選17年以來,如同馬英九這樣不受歡迎,相當罕見。」,一般認為馬大動作引發政爭,不但無助整頓司法,反而讓自己的施政滿意度來到新低點。這是《經濟學人》批馬「BUMBLER」(笨拙)之後,再次以負面詞彙形容馬英九。

《彭博社》也在報導檢察總長黃世銘涉嫌洩密案時,以「circumventing」(設下圈套)來形容整起政爭事件。

下為經濟學人 Most distracted guest at the party 全文︰

TAIWAN may well have one of the most unpopular elected presidents in its history. But, judging from events at a meeting of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) this week, Ma Ying-jeou is still capable of creating a diplomatic breakthrough here and there.

For the first time since Taiwan lost its seat at the UN in 1971, the island sent representatives to a meeting of its aviation agency, the ICAO assembly, which is being held in Montreal (and scheduled to conclude on October 4th). The Taiwanese delegation were described as guests attending at the invitation of the ICAO’s council president, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez. Given that China would normally crush any attempt from Taiwan to join in any UN activities, this counted as a major coup.

For more than 40 years now Taiwan, which has diplomatic relations with only 23 other countries, has been seeking to escape its isolation. Upon his election in 2008, Mr Ma adopted a new tack. By signing business agreements with the mainland, he eased the hostility that has raged across the Taiwan Strait ever since his Kuomintang party (the KMT) fled to the island in 1949, as it retreated from China’s civil war. Mr Ma’s goal has been to lessen the degree of diplomatic rivalry with China without dashing his people’s hopes for international recognition.

Mr Ma dropped Taiwan’s annual habit of applying to rejoin the UN as a state, a practice that was always condemned by China and anyway never successful in the least. Instead, more gently, Taiwan began pushing to join specific UN agencies as an observer. In essence, it has been pursuing a status that the UN has already awarded to Palestine. Taiwan joined the UN World Health Organisation (the WHO) as an observer in 2009, which marked the very first time the island was able to take part in UN activities since 1971. Since then, Mr Ma has been pushing for Taiwan to join the ICAO and also the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, also as an observer. While this year’s invitation to attend the ICAO as a guest marked a notable achievement, it still fell short of Taiwan’s long-term goal of attaining observer status.

Unfortunately for Mr Ma this rare achievement was eclipsed by the Taiwanese public’s fascination at an extraordinary spate of political strife. In early September Mr Ma alleged that prosecutors held evidence that the parliamentary speaker, Wang Jin-pyng, a member of Mr Ma’s ruling party, had tried to pervert the course of justice. Mr Ma alleges that Mr Wang asked the justice minister to stifle attempts from prosecutors to appeal a high-court acquittal of a leading opposition politician, Ker Chien-ming, who had been found guilty of embezzlement by a district court. (The whole story is extremely complicated.) Mr Ma said the prosecutors had gained this information by wiretapping Mr Ker’s mobile phone. As Mr Ma and Mr Wang are known to be bitter rivals, the public—rightly or wrongly—saw this as a rare event: a KMT power struggle, being fought out in public.

The KMT revoked Mr Wang’s party membership in mid-September, in an effort to remove him from the post of parliamentary speaker. This may have been due in part to Mr Ma’s irritation at Mr Wang’s willingness to make concessions to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over major bills, when he could have used the KMT’s slim majority to force them through parliament. This all backfired when Mr Wang, who had remained popular with the pubic and even some of his comrades in the KMT, protested his innocence and quickly turned to the courts to win an injunction which let him keep his party membership while he contests his expulsion.

As a result, Mr Wang is staying on as parliamentary speaker and Mr Ma’s legislative agenda is now being handled by a rival he has declared unfit for office—a man who is quite likely to be angry with Mr Ma. As the president’s popularity plummeted to a new low of 9.2%, parliament has come close to paralysis. Taiwan’s autumn parliamentary session is supposed to have began two weeks ago but Mr Ma’s prime minister has been unable to deliver his opening policy address; he has been blocked by rowdy, protesting lawmakers from the opposition, who are upset at Mr Ma’s treatment of Mr Wang. All this psychodrama was taking place just when the ICAO coup was announced.

As if to aggravate the week’s political turmoil, thousands of protesters surrounded the Presidential Office on September 29th. The next day Mr Ma lost a high-court appeal against the injunction that is preserving Mr Wang’s party membership. And in perhaps the most inflammatory revelation of all, prosecutors revealed that they had wiretapped a parliament phone line in pursuit of Mr Ker. This caused a furore among lawmakers across the political spectrum. The government says the wiretapping was legal, but the opposition and even some KMT lawmakers say that the prosecutors overstepped their remit illegally. The DPP is now threatening to impeach or recall Mr Ma. As they have only 40 seats in the 113-seat parliament, and the KMT hold 65 of the remainder, they will need the help of quite a few sympathetic lawmakers from Mr Ma’s party even to table a motion.

Mr Ma’s coup with the ICAO was further damaged by remarks made by Mr Gonzalez, the agency’s president. He told some reporters at the Taipei Times that Taiwan had been invited to the ICAO meeting as guests at the suggestion of China. The DPP, which is much more opposed to identifying Taiwan with China, criticised Mr Ma ferociously for this. In effect, Mr Gonzalez had merely mentioned the elephant in the room. Although Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO was strongly backed by America, it seems that Mr Ma’s knack for compromising with China is what won Taiwan its invitation to the ICAO. Virtually any mention of involvement on China’s part is apt to make the Taiwan public see Mr Ma as a quisling to the government in Beijing.

As for Taiwan’s future with the ICAO, George Tsai, the vice-president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, says that while China will tolerate Taiwan’s presence at the aviation body, it will continue to resist Taiwan’s obtaining observer status. It would take a political breakthrough in the cross-Strait relationship to change that, and with the gridlocked state of local Taiwanese politics, this is unlikely to happen.

Mr Ma has other reasons to be frustrated with Mr Wang, the parliamentary speaker. There have been unprecedented delays over a pact signed with China in June that would liberalise trade in services. Mr Ma should worry that he might lose China’s trust, if this pact is not passed. On Mr Tsai’s view, there is a bright side for the embattled president. Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO shows that Beijing still “sees Mr Ma as workable”, despite his troubles.

本報24/7隨時更新 歡迎定閱newsletter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here