Constitutional Choices in Taiwan: Implications of Global Trends
44 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2006
Date Written: January 18, 2006
The current Republic of China Constitution is a modified version of that drafted on the mainland in the late 1940s. While incremental reforms in the 1990s helped to tailor the Constitution to the needs of the island of Taiwan, they also produced a number of unintended consequences that have led to a stalemate between executive and legislative branches. As President Chen Shui-bian renews his call for constitutional reform, Taiwan has an opportunity to correct these severe defects in the political system. This paper considers the design of constitutional reform in light of recent global trends and Taiwan's distinctive political and social context. It argues that Taiwan's major political cleavages are of the type best resolved by some form of presidential system. It also considers a number of other issues of constitutional design, including direct democracy, constitutional review, and other oversight bodies.
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By Ran Hirschl