Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kaohsiung Mayoral Election Invalidated

A local court has invalidated the Kaohsiung Mayoral election.

Judges decided that accusations Chen's camp made regarding Huang Jun-ying (黃俊英), her main rival, on the eve of the election and on the polling day influenced election results.

The district court stressed in a news release that "Chen's polling-day action of making public a videotape showing a man giving money to passengers on a bus and urging them to vote for Huang could be regarded as a surprise attack against Huang and thus to have made the election unfair."

"We deem that Chen Chu's election as mayor should be invalidated because she, as well as her camp, held a press conference to make vote-buying accusations against her rival on polling day, when laws stipulate that no election-related campaigns can be held at that time in the race," the district court said in the statement.

Huang was not given enough time nor a fair opportunity to defend himself, judges insisted, further emphasizing that the evidence Chen's camp cited for its accusations against Huang was not strong enough.

However, the district court overruled a second lawsuit by Huang alleging irregularities caused by suspected vote-rigging.

The court decided that although the Central Election Commission, responsible for holding the vote, failed to stop Chen from making vote-buying allegations against Huang and did not fine Chen for making the allegations on polling day, this was not sufficient grounds for ruling that the entire election was held improperly.


I've heard that the press conference on the vote buying was held past 10:00 PM, which is against the rules, although Chen Chu is apparently arguing that the law allows presentation of vote buying information at "any time." How the judges knew the accusations affected the results is a mystery, because there is no good polling on the matter, but I suspect that we'll see some pro-Blue polls cited.

According to a report in the Taipei Times about the vote buying, KMT candidate Huang's campaign manager admits that he knew the vote buyer:

Su Wan-chi (蘇萬基), the executive of the KMT mayoral candidate's campaign team, admitted that he had asked Yang, who also is from Yunlin, to help mobilize support for the candidate. But did Su give Yang NT$60,000 to pay voters to participate in rallies? If he did not, then where did the money come from?

Lin Ping-feng (林平峰), chairman of the Yunlin Association, admitted to prosecutors that the association rented 10 buses for Huang's election-eve rally, but that it did not include the two buses Yang had organized for his mobilization activities.

However, Su, a former chairman of the Yunlin Association, had already admitted that he asked Yang to mobilize supporters for the rally, and he managed to fax the map of the rally to Ku.


I'm also curious to see whether a court will now invalidate the Taipei county elections, since there were similar last minute accusations of vote buying against DPP candidate Lo in 2005. I have a long revew of vote buying as a tactic in Taiwan here.

14 comments:

The Taipei Kid said...

Well, I know that Chen Chu is definitely guilty for having the world's worst hairdo. Not sure about the other stuff.

Michael Turton said...

What??? YOu mean it is not Annette Lu? :)

Comin' on Sunday to the Shannon?

michael

Zyzyx said...

In a real democracy, such a candidate would never get elected. They would never be in office, and if having any honor and sincerity, would resign voluntarily. In Taiwan, however, politicians are clinging on power no matter what. In Taiwan, criminals get elected, from both main parties. This is rather shocking. I'd prefer Singapore anytime over Taiwan, politically wise.

Raj said...

In some respects this doesn't matter. First of all Chen can appeal and I think the higher courts may decide the whole scandal is a bit too vague to require another election.

Second, even if there is another election, the TSU will almost certainly be forced not to run another candidate, else the DPP will give them a good shafting in the future when they want help to remain a viable political party. If the TSU double-crosses the DPP and puts a candidate up again, the DPP will never forgive them and do their best to strangle them.

Third, I do not see the people in the city wanting to have to vote again, so I doubt many will switch to the KMT. If anything they will be irritated they've kept this issue going for so long. DPP supporters will be annoyed and turn out to ensure Chen gets back in - I think KMT ones will be less interested second time around.

Fourth, the main point about the election was about the status of the parties for the legislative and presidential ones. Defeat for the DPP would have caused a lot of in-fighting and disunity. Even if Chen was kicked out after a second vote, I doubt that will happen now. For the KMT, a victory this time wouldn't help them with the big elections, even if they'd like control of the city.

Alan said...

"How the judges knew the accusations affected the results is a mystery"

Michael, the judges don't have to "know" it. Of course they are not going to know the "truth". The truth, you see, is determined objectively. If they decided that on the balance of probability that the accusations affected the results, then that's good enough for me.

It's not a criminal matter, they do not have to prove beyond reasonable doubt, only have to prove that it is true on the balance of probability.

I understand that you're probably a bit biased towards the DPP. That's nothing wrong with that. But if you look at this matter objectively rather than subjectively I think you'll agree that it is a fair judgement. Not necessary the "correct" judgement is everyone's mind but it doesn't have to be.

I do suspect, however, that this decision would be overturned as the repercussions of invalidating the election would be too great. It is not to say I wouldn't want to see protection against dodgy election tactics though.

Alan

Michael Turton said...

Michael, the judges don't have to "know" it. Of course they are not going to know the "truth". The truth, you see, is determined objectively. If they decided that on the balance of probability that the accusations affected the results, then that's good enough for me.

Alan, in order to decide something "on the balance of probability" you need to have evidence. Although you probably don't realize it, one of the ongoing discussions on this blog is about determining what Taiwanese voters' political behavior actually is. That is a trick, since all the polls are bullshit?

The reason I ask this question is simple: the numbers don't support your claim, or the judges. The total number of DPP votes fell between the two elections, while the total number of Green votes was unchanged. At the same time, the KMT made huge gains in votes for it. In other words, if it worked, its effect was the exact opposite of what was intended. At least, based on the evidence. But I doubt this judgment had anything to do with evidence.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

Taiwan news:

[One of the judges explains the problems with this ruling:]

Ku outlined three questions to challenge the ruling. First of all, Ku said if Huang could not prove that Chen's claim of discovering "Huang paying 'walking fees' to those who attended his campaign rally as shown in the video" was ill-motivated, the court should not have judged it as a slanderous move or illegal campaign gambit.

Second, Ku said that since the Chen camp's negative campaign tactic at most violated the regulations related to the period for campaigning, voters' voting rights were by no means affected by such an infraction. Consequently, he said, Chen had not broken any election-related fundamental principles to justify the "annulment" ruling.

Third, Ku said that in the conducting of election campaigns, exposing political rivals supposedly illegal campaign gambits, such as vote-buying on a tour bus, is part of freedom of speech which is protected by the Constitution. A complete ban on such moves could infringe upon personal freedom of speech, he added.

+++++++++

Runsun said...

"I'm also curious to see whether a court will now invalidate the Taipei county elections, since there were similar last minute accusations of vote buying against DPP candidate Su in 2005."

I think you meant 羅文嘉 ?

The Taipei Kid said...

Thanks for the invitation--but I am trying to finish what I hope is my last two weeks of my MBA program.

Alan said...

Micheal,

Firstly, I didn't and do not really want to look for the judgement, and I doubt it would be available in English anyway. Because so, there's no way for me to know what evidence and affidavits were presented in the Court.

I understand that the Court must have evidence to come to its conclusion. And there is nothing to suggest that they decided the case based on no evidence at all. (from what I have read, which is rather limited)

In my opinion, it wouldn't be wise for the Court to simply decide this case because the percentage of DPP votes are identical to the last election (and therefore there was no effect at all). I know you have written lots on the political behaviour of Taiwanese people. But this argument simply would not be held credible in the Court.

Even if the voting pattern are X percent for KMT and Y percent for the DDP for the last 50 year, unchanged. Who is to know that the pattern is going to held up for the next election.

Your assumption is that DPP has had the same amount of votes for the two elections, and KMT has made a huge gain in the recent election. Thus those accusations did not have a positive effect for DPP.

What if there were much more people who were prepared to vote for KMT and decided against it at the last minute. Again, I made this argument without any evidence. I'm merely illustrating that it is a possibility.

Also, you mentioned the judgement of Ku J. It is not uncommon (in fact it is very common) for a court to have dissenting judgements if there's more than one judge on the bench. Sometime they do so by writing a dissenting judgement (Ku J in this case), sometime they would express their opinion as obtier comments.

However, if it's two against one, then unfortunately Ku J's judgement would count for nothing.

Alan

Michael Turton said...


Even if the voting pattern are X percent for KMT and Y percent for the DDP for the last 50 year, unchanged. Who is to know that the pattern is going to held up for the next election.


Exactly. Since no one knows, what is the judgment based on?

Your assumption is that DPP has had the same amount of votes for the two elections, and KMT has made a huge gain in the recent election.

That's not an "assumption", it's a fact. Simply compare the numbers from the last three elections. Also, you read it wrong. The DPP vote fell between 02 and 06. The total Green vote remained the same. The TSU candidate apparently siphoned off votes from the DPP. For all the judges know, Chen Chu helped the TSU candidate, not herself. No one can prove otherwise.

Thus those accusations did not have a positive effect for DPP.

Correct. That's what the numbers say.

What if there were much more people who were prepared to vote for KMT and decided against it at the last minute. Again, I made this argument without any evidence. I'm merely illustrating that it is a possibility.

What? You think I never thought of this? Of course it is a possibility! What evidence supports it? Nothing. Contrary evidence? Voting behavior in previous Kaohsiung elections. As I have previously argued on this very topic, I doubt Chen Chu's last minute appeal had any effect at all, although the vote buying was probably pretty effective (that's the real irony of this ruling, eh?)

The judges appear to have made a very legalistic argument based on a very technical interpretation. [shrug] What can you do? No doubt it will be overturned on appeal.

Michael

channing said...

Wow, this one sure got a lot of feedback.

I'll agree with raj on this one...it's kind of late now, and if I were a voter I'd be quite worn down by the ongoing scuffle over an election that happened back in December.

Arty said...

I thought the whole judgement is about Chen Chu violating the election rules. It really doesn't matter she is right or not as the court considers. Also, I don't know about Taiwan's appealet system. In US, appealet courts only look at procedure errors i.e. evidences left behind, that could potentially alter the judgement.

Trace said...

So Michael, based on your feelings on this would it be fair to say if the situation was reversed, the KMT supporters set up the DPP candidate on election eve, and (for example) a KMT president Lien Chan the next day, voting day commented about the vote buying which in turn was broadcast the entire voting day - Would you support the KMT as you support the DPP's right to do what was done?

Nope!

I look at it this way - supporters of Party A broke an election law. regardless of whether or not party A or B was helped or hurt a law was broken and it was by supporters of Party A. If the matter ends at this point Party A I can excuse - but it does not end there. The president of the nation himself throws himself into the election day condemnations of Party B. This changes an innocent act by supporters that Party A could deny involvement with, into a government sanctioned event. The president of all people should have known the boundrys of the law. Now, with the judges anullment Party A feels a judges verdict was wrong so they appeal - once again, here comes president Chen with his solid support that Party A did not do anything wrong.

Wow - where is this place? Zimbabwe? Nigeria?

C'mon DPP mayor, please step down will you! respect the ruling from the judges of the city in which your the mayor.