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Sunday, December 06, 2009


A quick analysis of Taiwan's 3-in-1 election

DPP makes gains, but they aren't enough

Today's Taipei Times had a good visual analysis of the election result in PDF form [link updated] comparing the results with the turnout of the last Township/City/County election in 2005 and showing that out of the locales that were involved (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Taipei [Cities and Counties]) weren't), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held onto all their seats plus gained Yilan County. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), on the other hand lost not only Yilan (to the DPP) but Hualien County, too, to Fu Kun-chi (傅昆萁), who had left the party to run against the KMT's Du Li-hua (杜麗華).

The election in Penghu County was close, with KMT candidate Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) beating his DPP opponent Tsai Chien-hsing (蔡見興) by just 595 votes. A recount will take place automatically.

Michael Turton notes how close the overall vote count was, though I should point out that he's only looking at the numbers for the city mayors and county magistrates.

Much more info on the election is available on today's front page and in the Taiwan News section.

Chinese KMT violence to the fore
In other election-related news, Chen Chen-hui (陳振輝), the KMT's losing candidate in the Yunlin County town of Huwei (虎尾鎮) did something incredibly stupid.

A couple of hours after votes had been counted, Chen showed up at rival Lin Wen-pin's (林文彬, DPP) campaign headquarters. Chen was drunk and had a gun, and he started shooting. The DPP candidate's son, a policeman, happened to be on the scene and quickly captured the shooter, but not before a woman had been shot in the leg. Her injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

Here's a Liberty Times (自由時報) report on the shooting from late last night, and another article in today's Liberty Times mentions that Chen has a serious criminal record for having shot two investigators 24 years ago. That article tells us:

[Maddog translation:]
According to police sources, Chen Chen-hui was sent to prison 24 years ago for shooting two Yunlin County investigators.
Chinese KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who happens to be Taiwan's current President, said he'd run a "clean" campaign with "clean" candidates, yet this violent criminal -- who probably had the gun already -- was one of his picks.

Ah, the things that some people will call "clean."

Here's a report on the shooting from SETN (三立新聞台) that I uploaded to YouTube:

2:27 YouTube video: "Shooting in Huwei, Yunlin by loser Chinese KMT candidate"

Is anybody surprised?

UPDATE: More analyses:
* Michael Turton compares the DPP's numbers from the 2008 presidential election with those from the December 5 election. The result shows an increase in DPP support in every area but one (Chiayi City, -1.9%).

* The Monday, December 7, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times takes a magnifying glass to the local election results, showing that the DPP made were bigger than they may seem at first glance. [/update]

Bullets in the chamber: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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At 12:32 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

I don't have any issues with this thread, but I do have to scratch my head with the "but they aren't enough" part of the subheading.

What would have been "enough" and what would it have been enough to do? I think that one or two additional losses for the KMT might have caused havoc in the KMT, but it might not have. We really can't be sure. Additional losses for the KMT might have put more fire in the belly of the DPP too.

But I think it is important to note that the standards of what was "enough" were set by the parties, as Richard noted in a previous thread. The KMT set improbable standards for a "loss": A loss would be losing Yilan, Hsinchu and Changhua. That might have been "enough" but that was not going to happen, which is why the standards were set so low by KMT politicos such as Wu and Ma in the first place.

I naturally would have preferred that the KMT lose more seats. Yet, I am relieved that the result was even this good.

Losing Yilan was a slap in the face for Ma. There is no other way of interpreting the situation. And the number of close races was at a historical high. KMT "safe" seats no longer look safe.

The only way we can interpret the result as "not enough" for the DPP is through the lens of the unificationist agenda of Ma and the KMT. It wasn't enough to put the plans of the blue upper mucketymucks on hold. But seeing as how Ma and the Old Guard are bad at heeding public opinion as it is, we have no guarantees that anything short of a KMT catastrophe -- maybe losing half the seats they had or something similar -- would have been "enough".

I take comfort in the fact that the result cannot make the KMT comfortable with its position with Ma as the chairman. And, thanks to the shooting incident in Yunlin, any public concerns about the upstanding nature of the politicians chosen by Emperor Ma and his court will be difficult to dispel.

My big concern now is that the DPP won't be able to hold their united front together. I hope that Tsai can hold the fort together in advance of the municipality elections next year.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Thomas, you wrote:
- - -
I don't have any issues with this thread, but I do have to scratch my head with the "but they aren't enough" part of the subheading.

What would have been "enough" and what would it have been enough to do?


I naturally would have preferred that the KMT lose more seats. [...]
- - -

You've partially answered your own question.

Today's Taipei Times has more analysis of the positives (the "gains") as well as a reminder by the Taiwan Thinktank (台灣智庫) that the DPP "should adopt a more aggressive approach in future nominations" (the "not enough").

While the results are not particularly disappointing to many, my own standard of "good enough" would have witnessed a rebuke of Ma's Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that was clear enough for even a world which is used to reading AP's lies ("split in 1949") to recognize -- and not just one blue-to-green switch on the big map.

Tim Maddog


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