Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Benny Tai on What's Missing from the Basic Law

"What is missing from the Basic Law?"
Benny Tai
EJ Insight
21 July 2015
In my article last week, I used the term “executive-oriented” to point out the first problem with the Basic Law.  Essentially, the problem is that some of the systems and principles originally intended in the Basic Law are unable to be implemented because the law itself simply can’t keep up with the changes of the political environment.
     The second problem with the Basic Law lies in the fact that it doesn’t have any clause that deals with political parties, nor did it take into serious account the role of political parties when laying down the framework for the relationship between the executive and legislative branches.
     I believe anybody who roughly understands the democratic system knows that political parties play a pivotal role in integrating the different forces that come to power through elections, and ensuring the smooth operation of the democratic system. 
     As long as there are elections, there will be political parties.  However, the reason why the Basic Law makes no reference to political parties whatsoever is because back in the days when the law was drafted, any mention of other political parties remained a taboo subject under the one-party dictatorship on the mainland.
    At that time, members of the drafting committee for the Basic Law probably believed naively that the chief executive would be able to achieve executive dominance even without support from political parties. This has proven to be unrealistic given what has happened after the handover. The Basic Law made no reference to political parties because it is a taboo, and it didn’t mention the role of ruling parties either because it is an even bigger taboo subject.... Click here to read the full article.

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