Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Taipei Mayor Fun-n-games

The KMT machine continues to grind smoothly on, while the DPP appears to be unable to find its collective excretory orifice with a map and a flashlight. The Taipei Times reported yesterday that the DPP is still discussing who it might run for Taipei mayor in the upcoming election.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday denied speculation that he would enter the Taipei mayoral election, as DPP members voted in the first part of primaries to choose candidates for the Taipei and Kaohsiung city elections.

.....

In Taipei, the DPP was left without a candidate because no one registered for the primary.

After former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said last Wednesday that he had no intention of joining the Taipei mayoral election race and that the DPP should not wait for him, some speculated that Yu planned to run for the position.

.........

But Yu yesterday said he would not contest the election.

"No one has talked about it [a run for the Taipei mayorship] with me and I have never had this kind of plan, either," Yu said in Ilan County, where he voted in the primaries.

"Now that I am the chairman of the DPP, a position that takes on huge responsibility, I will not escape from it," he said.

....

Yu said he still expected Hsieh to become the party's Taipei candidate and had been negotiating with him.

"If Hsieh eventually refuses to take the field, the DPP will enlist another candidate through the party's mechanism."

Meanwhile, when asked his opinion about Yu running for Taipei mayor, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said he thought Yu was also a strong candidate and he would support Yu joining the campaign.

The DPP is highly unlikely to win in the mainlander and Blue stronghold of Taipei, so whatever candidate gets thrown into the ring is more or less a sacrifice to the democracy gods. If James Soong, Chairman of the PFP, really does enter the race in all seriousness and splits the pan-Blue vote between a PFP and KMT candidate, that might allow the DPP candidate a real shot at the mayor's seat. Meanwhile the KMT machine purred through its primary:

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chose Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) as its candidate for the Taipei mayoral election yesterday, with Hau winning a 60 percent support rate from party members and Taipei residents in the party's primary.

Hau, a former Environmental Protection Administration chief, won the primary with an overall 59.68 percent rate of support. His rival, KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), scored a 40.31 percent support rating.

The winner was decided through a telephone survey and a vote among members, with the survey accounting for 70 percent of the final outcome and voting making up 30 percent. The party conducted a random telephone poll from May 21 to May 23, followed by a vote by members yesterday.

Ting, however, won the most support among party members, attracting 10,730 votes yesterday compared with Hau's 6,412. The voter turnout rate was 38.7 percent. But Hau won the most support in three surveys conducted by three different polling firms, with an average 60 percent of those polled backing him, while Ting received an average support rate of 30.76 percent.


The interesting fact about this article is buried toward the end:

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier yesterday expressed his expectation for the party to remain harmonious during the primary, and urged KMT members to support the final candidate.

"I hope all party members will support the party's nominee whether or not they supported him before," Ma said after voting at Chin Hsin Elementary School.

Hau cast his vote with his father, former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), while Ting accompanied former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to vote.


Hau was the head of the EPA when during the Chen Administration and is the son of the reactionary mainlander politician who served in numerous posts in the old regime. He thus is attractive to members of both the Blue and Green camps, "Blue skin and a green head" is one way he is often described. When criticized by Blues for working for Chen, he retorted that he was working for Taiwan, an answer that did much to make him look centrist. He did take a hit for allegedly mismanaging the plastic bag policy, but that was bumbling, not corruption, and thus forgiveable. As for Ting, all you have to do is look who voted with him: two-time Presidential loser Lien Chan. It's clear he was the party insiders' man.

8 comments:

Jerome said...

There is a lot below the surface in this race or half-race that could boil up and explode but could also remain dormant.

There is the inner party fight between the old guard KMT and the new blood; there is the fact that no DPP candidate wants to risk being the sacrificial candidate; and there is the fact that if Soong would want to risk his faltering reputation and run he could still spoil things and allow the sacrificial DPP candidate take it all.

Who will blink first? Who will try to bargain with who? Who will take what risks? It makes an interesting scenario.

Particularly when you think back that all elected presidents of Taiwan have been Mayor of Taipei at some time, and this may still hold true in 2008.

Tim Maddog said...

Jerome, Michael, please let's kill this zombie-like meme! It's trying to eat my brain:
- - -
"all elected presidents of Taiwan have been Mayor of Taipei at some time"
- - -

The KMT would love for everybody to believe that their old method of "election by tradition" is still in play (especially since the person currently holding that particular title happens to be their chairman/media spokesmodel/China-ass-kisser), but that's not democracy, it's a conspiracy!

Besides, this "phenomenon" -- which the pro-blue/pro-China media would like you to believe constitutes a "trend" -- has only happened twice. One could just as easily say that the two people who fit this description (Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian) were both pro-Taiwan, quite unlike Ma.

The DPP needs to field a candidate (hopefully nobody like Shen Fu-hsiung, the DPP's very own "Joe Lieberman") for the mayor's race who can run Taipei City better than Ma, not someone who's only going to be judged mostly on their potential "presidentiality." The voters also need to keep in mind that this person would have to vacate the mayor's office long before the completion of their term if they are elected president in 2008.

Tim Maddog

huoguo said...

"The voters also need to keep in mind that this person would have to vacate the mayor's office long before the completion of their term if they are elected president in 2008."

You wish:) Do voters anywhere think that far ahead? MYJ has the name and face recognition in a 'blue' town. And the DPP isn't covering itself in glory anywhere on the island right now - unless Chen's relegation of powers will actually do the trick with the voters.

jingyang said...

It is unfortunate that the perception seems to be that any DPP candidate would simply be a sacrificial lamb.
In many other countries a "losing race" or a "safe seat" is seen as a chance for new blood to be elected (by the party who usually hold the seat) and by the other party as a chance for promising rising stars to prove themselves in a lower stakes campaign. It could a good opportunity for the DPP to show that they have other candidates than the "Big 4" or that appeal to young voters maybe. It is a pity that no-one seems able to see past the end of the own nose.
What a difference perception makes.
I agree with Maddog that the DPP need to feild a strong candidate, not necessarily a 'winning candidate' but certainly one that voters could see as capable of doing the job if by some chance they are elected.

Jerome said...

Tim, I would agree that there have been plenty of Taipei Mayors that would be the last person you would want running the country and I am certainly against election by tradition. But it is a high-visibility position and carries a lot of votes; like the Mayor of Chicago had more influence in the State than the Governor.

The vacating of office is also a problem for any Pres. runner; that is one along with many other reasons why I believe James Soong is steering away from it despite his threats to run.

Jinyang's thought is to the point, it is time to start putting out others for visibility.

Do you see Shen Fu-shiung as capable? So far all he has impressed me with is that he likes to talk "cute and clever."

Tim Maddog said...

Jerome queried:
- - -
Do you see Shen Fu-shiung as capable?
- - -

No way! (Note that I said "nobody like [him].") Over 2 years ago, I suggested on my blog that the DPP should kick Shen out of the party for his traitorous behavior.

My main point in the comment above was that this meme about "[both] elected presidents of Taiwan hav[ing] been Mayor of Taipei at some time" seems as if it's being pushed by the pro-blue/pro-China media in an attempt to make it true. Taiwan's voters need to prove the meme to be false.

Note to huoguo: I hope you're not suggesting that voters purposely not think ahead. ;-)

Tim Maddog

Tim Maddog said...

Jerome queried:
- - -
Do you see Shen Fu-shiung as capable?
- - -

No way! (Note that I said "nobody like [him].") Over 2 years ago, I suggested on my blog that the DPP should kick Shen out of the party for his traitorous behavior.

My main point in the comment above was that this meme about "[both] elected presidents of Taiwan hav[ing] been Mayor of Taipei at some time" seems as if it's being pushed by the pro-blue/pro-China media in an attempt to make it true. Taiwan's voters need to prove the meme to be false.

Note to huoguo: I hope you're not suggesting that voters purposely dumb themselves down. ;-)

Tim Maddog

Tim Maddog said...

Jerome queried:
- - -
Do you see Shen Fu-shiung as capable?
- - -

No way! (Note that I said "nobody like [him].") Over 2 years ago, I suggested on my blog that the DPP should kick Shen out of the party for his traitorous behavior.

My main point in the comment above was that this meme about "[both] elected presidents of Taiwan hav[ing] been Mayor of Taipei at some time" seems as if it's being pushed by the pro-blue/pro-China media in an attempt to make it true. Taiwan's voters need to prove the meme to be false.

Note to huoguo: I hope you're not suggesting that voters purposely dumb themselves down. ;-)

Tim Maddog