It can be said that the Second Republic Constitution is a completed version with “increased reconstructed articles”, which aims to give Taiwan’s 23 million people a more suitable and appropriate constitution. In order to preserve the Republic of China, the final draft has been named “R.O.C. Second Republic Constitution”.
In this version, the general provisions of the first chapter have not been changed. The Second Republic Constitution starts with a foreword, and then it directly delves into the first chapter. Following, the remaining chapters discuss the rights and duties of the people, the government system and the relationship between central and local governments, basic national policy, enforcement and amendment procedures of the constitution and transitional clauses, among others.
Taiwan Thinktank, Asia-Pacific Elite Interchange Association, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Graduate Institute of National Development of National Taiwan University (NTU) organized the conference titled “Deliberate Democracy: R.O.C. Second Republic Constitution”. During the morning session, panelists discussed the “judicial system” and the “limits of authority and the local system of central and local governments”. In the afternoon session, panelists discussed “basic national policy and the special chapter for aboriginal rights” and also debated “enforcement and amendment procedures and transitional clauses”. Presidential Adviser Koo Kwang-ming said that the Taiwanese people want a new constitution because it was not established in Taiwan, and the immigrants that meant to govern traditional Chinese society, after leaving their mother country in search of independence, they didn’t manifest it in Taiwan. He said that wanting a new constitution is a natural development meeting with the current national development demands. Koo also explained that Taiwan wishes to head toward an independent road, not to despite China, but rather a natural feeling that was developed between different culture and memory recollections from people of the two countries. He said that the current constitution should be a constitution promoted by the entire public because the old one was established by a set of elite people without public intervention, and in regards to finding a name for the new constitution, he considers it is not that important. Hsiao Wan-chang, former premier, delivered an address at the conference, which was read by Professor Chen Ming-tong.
Former Premier Hsiao said he believed that the Republic of China is Taiwan and the Taiwanizing of the R.O.C. is an actual reality. He also expressed support to promote the Second Republic Constitution. Regarding constitutional re-engineering, Chu Li-luan, current magistrate of Taoyuan county, said he believed that it is necessary to proceed with the amendment, and whether Taiwan is establishing or amending the constitution, all these represent constitutional reform. Concerning the Second Republic Constitution, he said he regrets the fact that many friends have only seen the foreword and the general provisions without substantially probing into its contents.
The most contentious part in the afternoon session concerning the “judicial system” was regarding constitutional violations and judicial appointments. The Second Republic Constitution specifically deals with this issue, which is meant to grant political procedures to oversee the right to public participation and in order to prevent the cabinet from controlling the legislature. Additionally, the Second Republic Constitution plans to set up a constitutional court comprised of fifteen judges. The judges’ term in office will be limited to twelve years and is not to be renewed. The appointment of the chief justice and the judges will be nominated by the premier and approved by the legislature by a two-thirds majority. This measure also prevents the ruling alliance to take control of the legislature and the state department at the same time. The highest judicial branch will be comprised of “occupational judges” and “non-occupational judges”. The chief justice can only be nominated from the occupational judge category, and the highest judicial branch can only adjudicate through collective agreement. Non-occupational judges will try cases according to the law. Following the spirit of three power branches, the Second Republic Constitution establishes a “Civil Servant Commission” to oversee and regulate the examination of civil servants and their merits and to ensure their protection. The commission’s tenure of office is set to six years and the commissioner is to be nominated by the premier and to be approved by the legislature. Concerning central and local governments, the Second Republic Constitution clearly grants more power to local governments. Limits of authority between central and local governments are even clearer in this version. Chapter 8, Article 112 states, “Central and county governments (city) are to mutually divide tax collections”. In this chapter, the establishment of administrative divisions is proposed to balance county and city development. Professor Chen Ming-tong said that the main reason in creating the Second Republic Constitution is to deal pragmatically with the current reality.
The Second Republic Constitution’s scope of validity is to take effect only in Taiwan. He said that even though the current constitution already has these provisions, but from 1945 to 1949, the Republic of Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China were established, receiving the world’s recognition, therefore, Taiwan’s territorial domain only consists of Taiwan Mainland, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and the outlaying islands. A suitable and appropriate constitution does not only meet with the needs of Taiwan, but it also deals pragmatically with the reality and future of cross strait relations. It is already a common consensus in Taiwan that the current constitution lacks in scope and puts Taiwan into an unfavorable condition. Therefore, it is necessary to push for constitutional re-engineering. The objectives must be clear, and historical questions cannot once again be caught in dispute. The goal of the conference organized by Taiwan Thinktank and the Asia-Pacific Elite Interchange Association was to gather scholars, specialists and members of the elite to discuss and obtain a common consensus to move forward with promoting the new Taiwan Constitution.