The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) breathed a sigh of relief after its candidate, Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛), defeated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) in the legislative by-election for Taipei's Da-an District (大安) yesterday.Coupled with the defeat in the Miaoli by-election a few weeks ago, the KMT appears to have been given a warning by the voters, said many observers in both the Taipei Times report, and the China Post. Both elections were characterized by low turnout, so it is hard to get a sense of where the electorate lies. Still, in solidly KMT Da-an district, the DPP did well. Another China Post article on the DPP response noted:
Chiang received 46,065 votes (49 percent) over Chou's 36,465 (39 percent), winning by less than 10,000 votes in a district that is traditionally a KMT stronghold.
In the legislative election last year, the KMT captured 66 percent of the vote for the seat to the DPP's 32 percent.
Independent candidate Yao Li-ming (姚立明), who has the backing of the New Party, failed to split the pan-blue vote and garnered only 9,868 ballots.
The Green Party's Calvin Wen (溫炳原) captured 1,058 votes. Independent candidates Liu Yih-jiun (劉義均), Chao Yan-ching (趙衍慶) and Chen Yuan-chi (陳源奇) received 645 votes, 46 votes and 39 votes respectively.
Voter turnout was a low 39.12 percent.
[DPP Chairman] Tsai said she was very glad to see the rise in the ratio of votes captured in the by-election, which she attributed partly to Chou as the best candidate of the party and partly to concerted efforts by all the party members.The KMT's control of local-level governments was made use of in this election, as local government employees were allegedly busted campaigning for the KMT while in uniform, as maddog reported (with video!).
This is the first time for the KMT's vote-capturing rate to fall under 50 percent, indicating that the KMT's dominance isn't unshakable on one hand, and the DPP's efforts to seek reforms have been recognized by the public on the other hand.
Tsai said she's sure that the DPP will stand up in the short time to live up to people's expectations, adding that her party will work harder to solicit more supporters in the year-end elections of county magistrates and city mayors.
For his part, Chou said that the election result is quite an encouraging development to the DPP, indicating that the DPP can still tap into the KMT's political stronghold in the Daan District as long as it works harder and harder.
Chou said excitedly that three vote-casting stations in the only borough headed by a DPP member all witnessed his votes outnumbered his rival Chiang Nai-hsin of the Kuomintang. “This has never happened before,” Chou stressed.
The legislature meanwhile was busy passing "a general amnesty for corrupt KMT officials" as the China Post reported, with the headline saying that the sunshine law was aimed at Chen Shui-bian, whose trial started this week, though the text did not mention the ex-president. Said the pro-KMT paper of new language added to the bill that targeted officials and their families and forced them to account for their possessions and cash holdings:
“Both paragraphs which will be added to the act as amended won't be retroactive,” [Justice Minister] Wang told the judicial committee meeting.The whole point of the charade, the DPP charged, was to make it look like the KMT-controlled legislature was actually doing something -- just in time for the by-election taking place in Da-an District.
The remarks hit the hornet nest.
Lawmaker Tsai huang-liang, DPP legislative caucus deputy whip, fired a broadside at Wang for “getting at the opposition party” and “shielding the Kuomintang.”
“Those who need to be required to explain are former Kuomintang officials,” Tsai said. By making the law non-retroactive, he added, none of them could be prosecuted.
Tsai asked Wang why Lien Chan, a former vice president and premier, couldn't be required to explain how he has come into a vast fortune, most of which probably was doubtfully acquired by his father, who was a minister of the interior.
“I don't know,” Wang replied. “I am sorry.”
Lee Chun-yi, another DPP legislative caucus deputy whip, charged that all those Kuomintang government officials who have unlawfully acquired assets in the past are now let to go scot-free.
“It's a general amnesty for those corrupt Kuomintang officials,” Lee pointed out. “The people can't accept the amendment,” he added.
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