- Documents on Democracy
On March 23, under pressure from nearby military maneuvers by the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan held its first-ever popular presidential election. (See the article by Yun-han Chu on pp. 69–82 above.) President Lee Teng-hui, the architect of Taiwan’s democratic transition, was reelected with 54 percent of the vote. Below are excerpts from his inaugural address, delivered on May 20:
Today, we in Taiwan firmly tell the world, with great pride and self-confidence: We now stand on the apex of democratic reform and will remain there resolutely. We have proved eloquently that the Chinese are capable of practicing democracy. We have effectively expanded the influence of the international democratic camp and made significant contributions to the cause of freedom and democracy.
Therefore, this gathering today does not celebrate the victory of any candidate, or any political party for that matter. It honors a triumph of democracy for [Taiwan’s] 21.3 million people. It salutes the confirmation of freedom and dignity—the most fundamental human values—in the Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu area. . . .
From now on, the people as a whole, rather than any individual or any political party, will be invested with the ruling power of the nation. This is free will in full play, the fullest realization of “popular sovereignty,” the real “compliance with the will of Heaven and response to human wishes,” the getting rid of the old and ringing in the new. All the glory belongs to the people. . . .
We have to broaden and deepen the democratic exercise. Horizontally, we will share our democratic experience with all Chinese and international friends. Vertically, we will proceed to phase 2 constitutional reform, promote clean elections, ensure clean and efficient government, enhance law and order, restructure the political landscape, and strengthen the multiparty political system, so as to guarantee stability and development for democracy. . . . [End Page 182]
On March 29–31, more than a dozen Nigerian prodemocracy groups held simultaneous “summit” meetings in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Oslo, Norway. At the meetings they formed an umbrella organization—the United Democratic Front of Nigeria—to oppose the military regime of General Sani Abacha and to restore civilian democratic government. The ten-point declaration from the communiqué issued at the summit appears below:
We, the prodemocracy organizations listed below, having deliberated in our simultaneous meetings in South Africa and in Europe, hereby resolve to work together under a common platform (United Democratic Front of Nigeria) to effectively harness and facilitate our activities toward the restoration of democracy in Nigeria on the basis of the popular mandate of 12 June 1993.
The immediate task of the Government of National Unity to be so formed is to call a Sovereign National Conference whose main task is to preside over the restoration of full democratization in the country.
Further, we resolve that:
1. We reject in its entirety the three-year transition program of the Abacha dictatorship in Nigeria.
2. Any actions including the creation of states and the conduct of elections under the illegal Abacha regime shall be null and void.
3. The only moral, just, and lasting solution to the Nigerian crisis is respect for the mandate of the Nigerian people as expressed in elections prior to and including the 12 June 1993 presidential elections.
4. We appeal to all people of conscience all over the world to insist on respect for the will of the people of Nigeria as expressed in elections prior to and including the presidential elections of 12 June 1993.
5. We call on Nigerians at home to boycott any new elections and to take measures to establish parallel zones of authority at local levels to deny any legitimacy to Abacha’s transition.
6. We demand that all political prisoners in Nigeria be released immediately and without conditions, and also that president-elect M.K.O. Abiola be released to form a broad-based Government of National Unity.
7. We call on the international community to impose [an] oil embargo and full economic, cultural, and sporting isolation on Nigeria until democracy is restored.
8. We call on all governments, the United Nations, the Organization of...