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Notes on Constitutional Change in the ROC: Presidential versus Parliamentary Government

Niou, Emerson M. S. and Ordeshook, Peter C. (1993) Notes on Constitutional Change in the ROC: Presidential versus Parliamentary Government. Social Science Working Paper, 869. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The debate over constitutional reform has moved to center stage in Taiwan, with a focus on two issues: the choice of presidential versus parliamentary government and a determination of the ultimate role of the National Assembly. These two issues, in turn, are linked by a third -- whether the president ought to be elected indirectly by the National Assembly or directly in a mass popular vote. Of these issues, though, the choice between a presidential and a parliamentary system is central, because it requires that we consider the methods whereby chief executives and legislators are elected and, correspondingly, the role of the National Assembly. Beginning, then, with the issue of presidential versus parliamentary government, this essay argues that the most commonly cited arguments over the advisability of choosing one or the other of these two forms are, for the most part, theoretically meaningless and are largely rhetorical devices for rationalizing prejudices about preferred governmental structures and the state's role. Consequently, we attempt here to provide a more useful set of criteria with which to evaluate reform in general and the choice between presidential and parliamentary government in particular. We conclude that although the choice between presidential and parliamentary forms is important, equal attention should be given to the methods whereby a president and the legislature are elected. It is these institutional parameters that determine the character of political parties in Taiwan, their ability to accommodate any mainlander-native Taiwanese conflict, and the likelihood that executive and legislative branches will formulate coherent domestic and international policy.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:The research represented by this essay, written for the "Conference on Democratic Institutions in East Asia," Duke University, Durham, NC (April 2-4, 1993), was supported by a grant from the Pacific Culture Foundation. Forthcoming: Chinese Political Science Review
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Pacific Culture FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:869
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170823-144216742
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80742
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:28 Aug 2017 23:36
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:34

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