The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) scored a landmark election success yesterday, sweeping all three seats in legislative by-elections in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties.Victory in Taitung was a big step forward, and rational leadership there will hopefully pave the way for future DPP advances in what has long been a territory of the KMT. Turnout played a big role:
The victory in Taitung marked the first time the party won a legislative seat in the county.
Although the Central Election Commission (CEC) did not announce the official results until 6:30pm, all three DPP candidates declared victory before 6pm, while their rivals all conceded defeat.
Voter turnout was below 50 percent in all three districts, the CEC said in a press release, with only 38.42 percent turnout in Taoyuan, 45.09 in Taichung and 39.44 in Taitung.The depressed turnout most probably represents Blue voters staying home in disgust. In the legislative elections in 2008, just two years ago, turnout was 48.57% in Taitung, above 54% in all five districts of Taichung county, and above 54% in every district in Taoyuan. Because Presidential elections have higher turnouts, and because Blues will turn out for Ma in 2012, it is probably dangerous to read too much into this.
The next election is another by-election for local officials, in February.
The Taipei Times continued:
Meanwhile, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) acknowledged the party’s defeat and vowed to learn from the lesson and continue with party reform.King is Ma's handpicked hatchet man who ran his election campaign in 2008; the results are a slap in the face for both him and Ma. The comment on officials stepping down as a result of the election may well refer not to King, but to National Security Council head Su Chi, who has been the target of KMT legislators' ire. Su is a trusted right-hand man of Ma, and one way to view the anger directed at him for incompetence: the attacks on Su are essentially attacks on Ma.
“We will face the results with humility and learn from this lesson. The KMT will continue the efforts on party reform and move forward,” King told a press conference at the KMT headquarters.
King acknowledged that election bribery was a problem that plagued the KMT, and pledged to examine its nomination mechanism to nominate better candidates in future elections.
Two of the three seats were left vacant when former KMT legislators Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) from Taoyuan and Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) from Taichung County were relieved of their elected status after being found guilty of vote-buying.
The other was vacated when Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) resigned as a legislator last year to take part in last month’s county commissioner election.
King, however, declined to comment on whether he or any KMT officials would step down to take responsibility for the defeat, repeating the party’s determination on party reform when asked for further comment.
Taiwan News carried the DPP remarks on its victory:
The DPP secretary-general said the sweep was due to three factors, namely voter disgust over vote - buying, the desire of citizens to bolster the DPP`s strength as an opposition party to "check and balance" the Ma government and unity within the party's ranks.The last two paragraphs show how the recent victories have been a big morale booster for the DPP. DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's cool hand at the helm has paid off as she has somehow managed to conciliate factions and keep the party focused, though the year-end election in Tainan is still a problem for the party. The KMT, with its indifference, incompetence and venality, has been a big help, as has its outrageous detention of former President Chen Shui-bian, which has completely silenced Chen's bombastic mouth, preventing him from making himself an issue in the local elections.
Su expressed special gratitude to former DPP legislator Peng Tien-fu, who paved the way for Kuo`s victory by pulling out of the race and urging backers to "support" the DPP and to DPP heavyweights who cooperated with the campaign strategy and support plans of the party headquarters.
Moreover, DPP Spokesman Chuang Suo-han told the Taiwan News that "this result is unmistakably a vote of no confidence in the administrative performance of the Ma government."
Su added that the result would show the world community that Taiwan was "a real democratic country with a two party system" in which the views of the opposition party cannot be ignored.
"I cannot predict how the Chinese Communist Party leadership will react to this election, but I believe the results will send a message to China that they must respect the DPP and the voices of the Taiwan people and cannot only listen to the KMT," said the DPP secretary-general.
The DPP secretary-general stated that the opposition party would use its greater clout in a responsible manner "for the benefit of the people" and "in line with the views of the majority of the Taiwan people" and stated that the opposition party had no plans to file a "recall" motion against Ma.
The DPP secretary general also expressed cautious optimism about four more legislative by-elections will be held February 27 in Hsinchu, Hualien, Taoyuan and Chiayi Counties.
With the exception of Chiayi County in which the DPP is fielding former DPP Chiayi County magistrate Chen Ming-wen, Su acknowledged that the other three races are in "difficult" areas but told reporters that "if we can win in Taitung, it should not be impossible to win in Hualien or Hsinchu."
MEDIA NOTE: Both Reuters (below) and AFP channel Xinhua with their announcement that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) favours independence "from China". The irony of media error on this issue is simple: every entity involved in the cross-strait equation -- the DPP, the KMT, the ROC Constitution, the Treaty of San Francisco, the Treaty of Taipei, the protesters marching in Taichung last month, bloggers, activists, even Beijing -- all know that the status of Taiwan is undetermined and that the DPP does not want independence "from China" but independence, period. Everyone involved knows this -- except AFP and Reuters. The frustrating thing is that even though it is an obvious and easily corrected error, no amount of evidence and argument will get them to change their minds. And people in the media complain that bloggers don't fact-check..... ADDED: The DPP position is actually that Taiwan is already independent and sovereign. But let's keep things simple -- "from China" is completely wrong.
- China's new clout on Capital Hill
- WSJ approves of arms sales to Taiwan. Fortunately the US has delinked them from the beef issue.
- Government to commission report on effects of ASEAN+1. Yes, that's right -- the administration has been claiming Taiwan will be devastated by ASEAN + 1 and MUST MUST MUST sign ECFA with China, but it has no evidence to support that claim.
- Proud Dad: Somewhere there is a Lego executive retiring because of me. My kids' latest Lego video.
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