Sunday, March 29, 2009

KMT Wins in Da-an

The KMT won in the by-election in Da-an district in Taipei. The pro-Green Taipei Times notes:
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.

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.
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:
[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.

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 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!).

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 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.
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.

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Anonymous said...

There's still a legislature? I totally forgot about those guys.

Under Chen, they were in the news every day opposing something... anything.

Now... ? Poof! Gone.

I am beginning the idea of a legislature was invented by the media.

Anonymous said...

There should be a "to think" in there somewhere above.

Anonymous said...

Lee Ching-an / Diana Lee showed up to go vote. Isn't that nuts? The very legislator that caused this whole ruckus and to this day, still has US citizenship* and forced this whole waste of money/time/energy election, came out to vote. What a weirdo...

*There is another explanation for this. Yes, I suppose it's possible she's some kind of sadomasochist, suffering from all this, losing her legislative seat, ruining her actually fairly clean reputation, shown to be a hypocrite for criticizing Chen Shi-meng for the same thing, and actually doesn't have US citizenship. Yeah, maybe...

Readin said...

I'm confused by the analysis in the Sunshine Act stories.

It seems the DPP is complaining that by not making the law retroactive, it is targeting the DPP.

How is that so? It is true that non-retroactiveness may let a lot of KMT off the hook. But how does it target DPP? Is the law to be retroactive only to 2000 and not beyond so that it encompasses Chen's years in office but nothing before that?

Also, the explanation of the amendment is that it requires "public functionaries" to be able to account for their money. Given that most public functionaries are now KMT, how does that target DPP rather than KMT? Given that President Chen is no longer in office, how could a non-retroactive act possibly "further incriminate" him as the China Post headline alledges?

Finally, how is it an "amnesty for those corrupt Kuomintang officials"? The article doesn't say anything about the amendment letting those officials off the hook. From the article, it just seems an additional tool won't be added to the tools that already exist for investigating corruption. An "amnesty" would prevent future prosecution no matter what evidence is found. However, the article doesn't say anything about the act providing such an amnesty other than the possibly hyperbolic quote from the DPP's Lee.

Anyone have additional information that would explain the confusion? I think the article is way short on important details.

Michael Turton said...

It is an amnesty because it only starts in force from the time it is passed. Hence it does not call for corrupt KMT officials who had previously looted public coffers to account for their current holdings, only future politicians. Essentially it is an amnesty.

The Naked Animal said...

The act is clearly targeted at Chen Shui-bian, his family and the former administration as it is being pushed through while several investigations into the former DPP administration are still ongoing. Shortly after it is passed, prosecutors will rather conveniently be able to charge CSB and the rest with failing to prove where they got their money from. The law comes as a godsend for the Special Investigation Division as it is allegedly having trouble finding concrete proof of corruption on Chen's part (Wu Shu-jen might be in deeper trouble however). The Chen's have all this money they say came from political donations (they admittedly failed to declare and transferred rather suspiciously around the world) and (according to sources with knowledge of the investigation) that's pretty much all the prosecutors have on them. Once this act is passed however, it will be a crime not to have a receipt and will therefore allow prosecutors to charge Chen et al. THAT'S why it is clearly targeted at the DPP.