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Decline of Kuomintang (KMT) Electoral Dominance, Factional Conflict and Bureaucratic Reforms in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  1 “Now under the administrative reform by the KMT, there is a second track for appeals. They [citizens] can start at the Executive Yuan [branch]. When people fail there, then they can appeal through the judicial system. In turn, they can face each other and debate between government and people. In other words, we have created a situation where the third party or the judiciary can arbitrate between the people and government.” 1 --Yao Eng-Chi, Vice President of the Legislative Yuan (15 July 2000) Introduction To date, scholars have paid great attention to understanding the variation in electoral rules and elections in new democracies. However, there has been less focus on how electoral rules, over time, affect the composition of the executive branch and thus the nature of government policies in new democracies. During the past decade, several of the world’s well- known one-party dominant systems lost control of their governments. Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party (KMT) all lost effective control of their governments. This paper focuses on Taiwan and links the KMT’s decline in electoral performance, under a single nontransferable vote (SNTV) system, directly to its ability to control the executive branch. Linking the KMT’s gradual decline in electoral dominance to its ability to control the executive branch is crucial for at least three reasons: First, it raises the question of how this decline affected the composition of the president’s cabinet? Second, whether or not conflict over policy increased over time within the cabinet? Third, assuming cabinet conflict increased, how did the president or cabinet ministers resolve control problems within the executive branch? Taiwan recently adopted a series of administrative reform laws, designed to make the executive branch more transparent and allow public participation in regulatory policies. The passage of these laws raises the question why chief executives support administrative procedural reforms that are designed to slow down and impose extra costs on the implementation of their policies? One possible explanation comes out of a study on the passage of the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946 (McNollgast 1999). McNollgast argue that the United States passed an APA in 1946 because President Truman and the New Deal 1 Interview with author, Taipei, Taiwan, 7/15/00.

Authors: Baum, Jeeyang.
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1

“Now under the administrative reform by the KMT, there is a second track for appeals. They
[citizens] can start at the Executive Yuan [branch]. When people fail there, then they can appeal through
the judicial system. In turn, they can face each other and debate between government and people. In
other words, we have created a situation where the third party or the judiciary can arbitrate between the
people and government.”
1
--Yao Eng-Chi, Vice President of the Legislative Yuan (15 July 2000)
Introduction
To date, scholars have paid great attention to understanding the variation in electoral
rules and elections in new democracies. However, there has been less focus on how electoral
rules, over time, affect the composition of the executive branch and thus the nature of
government policies in new democracies. During the past decade, several of the world’s well-
known one-party dominant systems lost control of their governments. Japan’s Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and Taiwan’s
Kuomintang Party (KMT) all lost effective control
of their governments. This paper focuses on
Taiwan and links the KMT’s decline in electoral performance, under a single nontransferable
vote (SNTV) system, directly to its ability to control the executive branch.
Linking the KMT’s gradual decline in electoral dominance to its ability to control the
executive branch is crucial for at least three reasons: First, it raises the question of how this
decline affected the composition of the president’s cabinet? Second, whether or not conflict over
policy increased over time within the cabinet? Third, assuming cabinet conflict increased, how
did the president or cabinet ministers resolve control problems within the executive branch?
Taiwan recently adopted a series of administrative reform laws, designed to make the
executive branch more transparent and allow public participation in regulatory policies. The
passage of these laws raises the question why chief executives support administrative
procedural reforms that are designed to slow down and impose extra costs on the
implementation of their policies? One possible explanation comes out of a study on the passage
of the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946 (McNollgast 1999). McNollgast argue
that the United States passed an APA in 1946 because President Truman and the New Deal
1
Interview with author, Taipei, Taiwan, 7/15/00.


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