Adjudicating the Roles of Political Parties in Context: Beyond the Right-Based Understanding Through the Case of Taiwan

Political parties are traditionally conceived to be private entities enjoying constitutional rights. Yet, it fails to fully recognize their changing dynamics with citizens and other political institutions in democratic politics. Thus, the essay studies Judicial Interpretation No. 728 made by the Constitutional Court of Taiwan (TCC), which concerns the Act Governing the Settlement of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations, a law aiming to reform the authoritarian legacy of the Kuomintang, the majority party during the authoritarian rule in Taiwan. Under the Act, the affiliated organizations of the KMT were ruled to return the properties obtained from the state under the authoritarian regime. Against these affected entities’ argument that their constitutional rights were violated, the TCC upheld the legislation. It shows how a contextual understanding of political parties’ functions can help rethink their evolving status in democratic politics.