Political System: Promoting a Cabinet System

National Security

Addressing Challenges
Taiwan's democracy, a result of the selfless dedication of our predecessors, has undergone three rotations in political leadership and seven constitutional amendments. However, power has become disproportionately concentrated. The President can directly appoint the Premier, and the legislature lacks the power to approve this appointment. The Premier has essentially become an executive assistant to the President. The President is not required to report to the legislature or face inquiries for supervision. The Five Power Division blurs responsibilities, transforming the "semi-presidential system" into a "super-presidential system" where the "winner takes all" and the political climate becomes increasingly polarized.


In each presidential election, the people have high hopes for the new national leader to strengthen Taiwan's democracy. However, the power of the president has expanded limitlessly and without restraints. The president always announce policies via social media rather than through legislative oversight procedures. Budget allocations are manipulated, with the addition of the word "special" allowing arbitrary expenditures to remain unaccounted for and creating the façade of responsible fiscal performance. By controlling the Fourth Estate through national resources, the President and her team engage in endless domestic and international propaganda campaigns, all while avoiding media interviews for 745 consecutive days. As such, an elected president in Taiwan has essentially become an "elected emperor." 

"Power without Responsibility: The President becomes a Dictator / Elected Monarch"


Former presidents, including Lee, Chen, Ma, and Tsai, have all advocated for a cabinet system over the current system in Taiwan. In 2014, the Democratic Progressive Party conducted a survey in which over 60% of the respondents supported a cabinet system. The World Bank, when evaluating political stability, political efficiency, and corruption control, has consistently found that the cabinet system or semi-cabinet system outperforms the presidential system. And semi-presidential or super-presidential system, like ours, is excluded in ranking in terms of the above-mentioned evaluation items.

"Poor fiscal discipline and routine use of special budgets"


Although President Chen and President Ma used to allocate special budgets in their tenures at the amounts of NT$ 447.6 billion and NT$ 873.6 billion respectively, President Tsai skyrocketed the budgets to NT$ 2.4 trillion. Of this NT$ 2.4 trillion, NT$2.2 trillion is funded through debt issuance, nearly double the combined total of the previous two administrations. Several special budgets have implementation periods that extend into the tenure of the next president. Special budgets exploit the "occasional or non-annual significant political events" loophole in the Budget Act, allowing multiple years' budgets to be bundled together and are often pushed through the legislature by the ruling party's dominance, making it difficult for a legislative oversight.


"Unfair electoral systems hinder pluralistic participation"


The current single-member district system for legislators often falls into a showdown between the two major political parties, making smaller parties in a disadvantageous position. Additionally, party votes must reach a 5% threshold to gain proportional representation seats. The current "parallel voting" system fails to accurately reflect political parties’ vote share in the final seat allocation, benefiting larger parties and hindering smaller ones. Unreasonable thresholds for constitutional amendments have prevented Taiwan from keeping pace with global trends, particularly in granting the "right to vote at 18" and enabling younger generations to participate in a reasonable manner.


1. The president should regularly address the legislature and be subject to inquiries and oversight by the parliamentary caucuses.
2. The exercise of the appointments of premier and cabinet members by the president should require hearings and approval by the legislature.
3. Ensuring the separation of powers and balance among the three branches of government by suspend the functions of the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan.
4. Enforce measures against nepotism and establish transparent selection processes for high-level civil servants and state-owned enterprise boards.
5. Special budgets should no longer be a routine practice, and fiscal discipline within the government should be reestablished.
6. Reform the electoral system to ensure fairness and inclusivity, lowering the voting age to promote a more diverse and just society.
7. Convene a national affairs conference and advocate for the incorporation of a cabinet system into the constitution.
8. Strengthening checks on power is necessary to establish a fair and just society that constraints the government power and returns to the people.