Horizontal Accountability in a Polarised New Democracy: The Case of Post-Democratisation Taiwan
20 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2015 Last revised: 15 Jun 2021
Date Written: March 31, 2015
This article evaluates the post-democratic transition performance of Taiwan’s major horizontal accountability institutions, including the Constitutional Court and other courts, the prosecutorial system and the Control Yuan (the ombudsman’s office), in terms of their independence, supremacy, accountability and capacity. The main question to be addressed is whether these institutions are robust enough to withstand the severely polarised politics that have prevailed since democratic transition. It examines major separation of powers cases of the Constitutional Court; politically-charged defamation and electoral cases in the regular courts; high-profile political cases investigated by the prosecutorial system; and the overall performance of the Control Yuan. It is argued that Taiwan’s polarised politics pose great challenges to horizontal accountability, which has been guarded by the judicial system. The article concludes that tanks to the early development of the rule of law and post-authoritarian judicial reforms, these institutions have survived severely polarised politics, albeit at considerable cost.
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