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Volume #8, Number #2

Published in December, 2004

Germany’s Constitution of 1911 provided referendums on federal, state and local level. The constitution of the Weimar Republic allowed the people to hold a referendum on issues. After World War II, Germany has no provision for popular participation through referendum at federal level. By 1990 only seven states had referendums at state level and only one state had direct democracy at local level. Since 1998 all 16 states have introduced referendums at state level and 15 at local level. The first part of the paper discusses the concepts and comparative classification of referendums. Part two introduces the experiences of referendums in Weimar Republic. Part three discusses different opinions about referendum during and after World War II in Germany. Part four introduces the development of referendum at state and local levels during 1945-1990. Part five introduces the development of referendum after 1990 and explores the factors that led to the introduction of referendum at state and local levels. The conclusion indicates that the parliamentary system at state and local levels in Germany did not changed after the introduction of referendums.

Kuei-Hsiang Liao

For over two thousand years, the coup of annihilating Empress Lü’s families (諸呂) that occurred in the 23th year of the Western Han Empire (180 B. C.) had been widely misunderstood. Empress Lü’s (呂后) descendants were thought to be guilty and justly executed, because they intended to commit the crime of treason. This view has been challenged by contemporary scholars who reached the consensus that Lü’s families were innocent in fact. They argued that the Prime Minister Lü Chan (呂產) and the Supreme Commander Lü Lu (呂祿) were murdered in a dirty coup conspired by the elder statesmen and generals who had contributed to the founding of the Empire, especially the former Prime Minister Chen Ping (陳平), for the sake of power and self-interests. Through systematic examination of the original historical record, i.e., Shih-chi (史記) by Ssu-ma Chien (司馬遷), this article demonstrates that both of these two conflicting views are far from the truth.

The truth is that the sharp political conflicts between the two ruling families, i.e., those of the First Emperor Liu Pang (劉邦) and of his widow the Empress Lü, were about to trigger a whole-scaled civil war which might cause the death of millions of people and the collapse of the new-born Empire. The conflict was resolved and the civil war was fortunately prevented, as the elder statesmen and generals intervened and staged a coup to annihilate the Lü’s families. In the process, the prime ‘conspirator’ Chen Ping had conducted many immoral and illegal acts. Nevertheless, his means is justified by his end to save the people and the state.

In the coup that immediately followed the extermination of the Lü’s families, Chen Ping and his followers murdered the young Emperor crowned by the Empress Lü, whose legitimacy had been challenged by the feudal lords of the Liu families. By setting up the First Emperor’s son Liu Heng (劉恆) as the new Emperor and by setting up his son as heir apparent , the crisis of political succession was resolved and the authority of the imperial house was consolidated. This also contributes greatly to the survival of the Empire for over two hundred years. Overall, Chen Ping had done great contributions to the Western Han Empire. This is the reason why the Grand Historian Ssu-ma Chien regarded him with admiration and respect.

Finally, this article demonstrates that the original historical records of this event was written by Ssu-ma Chien in extremely peculiar manners. Most records of political history are the victor’s stories. Shih-chi is a rare exception. By planting riddles in the narration of facts, he presented two stories of the same event. One, the victor’s; the other, the loser’s. This is one of the main reasons why the truth and the historical meanings of the event are so difficult to grasp.

Hsiao-Shih Cheng

The paper tries to explore the plausible types of a divided government which has a predominant opposition party in the legislature, and the influences of these divided types may exercise upon their legislature and executive relations. The main reasons for doing so are, on the one hand, Taiwan’s county governments so far have had a very unbalanced seat share between their ruling and opposition party in their county councils. On the other hand, the relevant literature of divided government has not seriously dealt with this very unbalanced divided situation.

The paper mainly deducts from Ricker & Olson’s rational choice logic and suggests the following four types of divided governments which have predominant opposition parties in their legislatures. These four are: I. opposition seats are over half, the ruling party are a few. II. The opposition are over half, the ruling party are some. III. The opposition is relatively plural, the ruling party are a few. IV. The opposition is plural, the ruling party are some. This paper also defines the Executive-Legislature relations into three dimensions: First is the atmosphere of their interaction during the question period; the second is the cutting ratio of annual budget by the council; the third refers to the number of bills proposed by the government and the passing ratios of these government bills. This paper also assumes that the Executive leaders’ rationality is to realize their policy goal. Council persons are self-interested since they only care about whether or not they could distribute benefit to their own interests. Based upon these rational assumptions, this paper proposed that Type I divided government will have a better interactive atmosphere, a lower budget cutting ratio, but has a lower government bill proposing and bill passing ratios. Concerning the other three types of divided government, while type IV produces opposite outcome as comparing to type I, type II and III should fall into the middle of that of the type IV and I.

In the examination of Kaohsiung county case from 1985 to 2003, the impact of different types of predominant opposition party in the Council on the Executive-Legislature relation can quite cope with the theoretical expectation of that proposed by the paper.

Da-Chi Liao, Chen-Lin Hung

Some recent studies have found little explanatory power of religious attachment to the attitude toward democracy or war in the Muslim societies. This result challenges the conventional wisdom that the religious factor is deeply connected to political turmoil in the Middle East. However, political scientists so far lack a powerful theory to explain the support of political Islam. The purpose of this article is to make a contribution in this regard with methodological rigor.

This article starts with a theoretical discussion about the concept of political Islam and the three major arguments for its popular support. Next, a research design is proposed, including the issues of conceptual definition, variable formation, data processing, and major hypotheses. Then I introduce an innovative psychometric approach, Item Response Theory (IRT), to this study. Specifically, the focus is why the application of IRT can contribute to political culture studies with methodological merit. Finally, the conclusion shows that the three explanations all explain the support of political Islam but in different aspects. People with greater personal piety or premodernist attitudes are more supportive of political Islam in attitude, but when it comes down to voting behavior, they are very rational to hold the incumbent government responsible, no matter whether Islamist parties are part of it.

Min-Hua Huang

This research project focuses on the formation of administrative elites within the DPP after the political power turnover in 2000. Through the analysis of the administrative elites’ background, and their entry and mobility between sectors, the features of this administrative group can be specified. Personnel data of DDP administrative elites was collected for the 2000-2003 period. These data including by which department these elites were recruited, their levels and personal profile. The profile details were mainly collected from Academia Historic and the compilation of data on superintendents of the Executive Yuan and respective departments. In case of missing data, other sources such as the internet, newspapers, and “Who’s Who in the Republic of China” were consulted.

Through analysis of these data, we found that the new government used a different recruitment strategy from which, depending on the substitutability of the staffs. Departments with more replaceable staffs indicates a considerably high a level of personnel flow, and vice versa. Besides, during the process of government’s stabilization, the DPP government not only offered internal career chance, but also sought to expand the recruitment from social elites. Since DPP strongly appealed to sex equality before coming into power, after assuming power the number of female administrators increased slightly. Furthermore, in comparing the employment pattern of the old and new governments, generational turnover was also recognizable. Finally, as the government did not provide those with mainland background with ample opportunities, this group experienced a decline in power.

Yu-Cheng Chiu, Yung-Ming Hsu