In Miaoli "independent" candidate Kang Shih-ju beat the wife of convicted vote-buyer Lee E-tin in the local by-election, The Taipei Times writes:
Kang, chief of Zhunan Township (竹南), gave up his KMT membership to run in the by-election. He declared victory yesterday after winning 41,688 votes to Chen’s 40,099 votes.Lee had been convicted of vote buying using temples back in December...
Lee’s election to the legislature was annulled in December after he was found guilty of vote-buying.
After yesterday’s results were in, Kang said at his campaign headquarters that the public had voted for an end to corruption. He vowed to combat corruption and work for the interests of Miaoli residents.
“The result of the by-election show that voters in Miaoli County renounce corruption and support me for my integrity and long-term efforts to develop Miaoli County,” Kang said.
Chen, accompanied by Lee, conceded defeat shortly afterward at her campaign headquarters. Chen and Lee blamed her defeat on the low turnout rate. They said they would not seek a recount.
Kang failed to win the KMT’s nomination for the legislative election last year and left the party after it again passed him over for the by-election, choosing Chen instead.
The court verdict said Lee made 16 visits to temples in Yuanli and Jhunan — two of the eight townships in one of Miaoli County’s two electoral districts — between June and October last year.I didn't hear that any of the temples were busted for participating in the vote buying scheme. Shouldn't some temple association leaders be behind bars? Kang is a good example of the way former KMTers simply turn "independent" if not permitted to run by the party electoral processes, something the KMT relaxed its exclusion clause for criminal behavior to prevent.
During that time he made donations and solicited support via his campaign aides for his election bid. Because Lee had not been previously known to make donations to temples and had only done so during the election campaign, the court ruled they were designed to improperly influence voter behavior.
Observe that despite the corruption, and the attempt to game the system by Lee running his wife for the office, a common practice of corrupt local politicians (example), they only lost the election by a whisker. As I wrote three years ago:
Yet, in fair elections, the public consistently returns corrupt politicians to office. Stop me before I kill again! seems to be the message voters are sending.The good news about Kang's victory is that he has promised to caucus with the DPP, and received DPP support in the election.
Some interesting, and in its way, portentous, news from the US where Taiwan Caucus Co-Chair and ardent Taiwan supporter Dana Rohrabacher, the California Republican, has decided to step down from that position.
Rohrabacher said in the interview that his resignation was primarily the result of a growing gap in goals between him and Taiwan’s government.The Liberty Times report is here.
Rohrabacher said that he firmly believed in opposing autocracy, but if Taiwanese voters via a democratic election have chosen to cooperate with China, then his participation was inconsequential.
Echo Taiwan points to an interesting report from the Chunghua Institute of Economic Research (CIER), not a notably pan-Green organization, that says of the proposal to build a bridge between China and Kinmen:
Earlier this month, CIER announces the evaluation report. It says that there might be economic benefits, but due to the fact that Xiamen is a much more developed area than Kinmen is, a bridge will speed up the outflow of Kinmen resources and eventually bring deterioration to Kinmen in the long run.What? The same logic applies to Taiwan -- closer links with China simply mean that more resources will flow outward from Taiwan to China. As we have seen.....
Therefore the evaluation report suggests that Ma government to postpone such a plan (中經院報告 建議金廈大橋緩建, Liberty Times, Mar 3rd, 2009)
According the the above news piece, the evaluation is entirely based on the economy interests. Neither the safety of Kinmen against possible invasion nor the national security of Taiwan is evaluated.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!