What a wonderful day! Biked 80 kms through the beautiful hills of Miaoli (cue Drew's post), including an 800 meter climb up stunning 130. My friend Michael Cannon was testing the Salsa Pistola, a sweet steel frame, which I may someday leave my wife for. Then came home, still groggy from the endorphins, to find the DPP not only took Hsinchu and Chiayi, which I pretty much expected, but also Taoyuan, and Bi-khim turned in an outstanding performance in a loss in Hualien. AP says:
Taiwan's ruling party has suffered its third major electoral setback in two months, losing three of four by-elections, despite the president's zealous efforts to boost his sagging public support.AP did a fine job, but others were less than stellar. I'm not going to get into the whole media mischaracterization thing, I think someone else is going to do that. On to the victory!
The Central Election Commission said Saturday that the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party won three legislative seats in Hsinchu, Taoyuan and Chiayi counties respectively. It said the ruling Nationalist Party won one seat in Hualien.
Despite the setback, the Nationalists still dominate the 113-seat legislature, controlling 74 seats against the DPP's 33.
The pro-DPP Liberty Times has all the details. A summary, including figures from the CEC:
- In Chiayi, a DPP stronghold, the DPP won 57,000 to 27,000, a blowout as expected.
- In Hsinchu, the DPP won 71,000 to 56,000.
- In Taoyuan, the DPP candidate beat the KMT candidate 45,363 to 42,600, according to CEC figures, now online.
- In Hualien, Hsiao Bi-khim turned in a strong showing in an predominantly KMT area, losing by 6,000 votes, 39K to 33K. An independent took another 8,800 votes.
Since the KMT won the legislative and Presidential elections, there has been an uninterrupted stream of DPP victories and better-than-expected showings. This loss is a huge slap in the face for President Ma, who is chairman of the KMT and who had personally campaigned in the contested areas in the north, as well as his handpicked hatchet man, King Pu-tsun. I can't wait to read the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the KMT papers tomorrow, and the ruthless ripping on the President. At this point it would be hard to determine which bloc of voters detests Ma more, the Greens or the Blues.
It's difficult to say whether the trend will continue in December, which is a long 10 months away. For one thing the economy appears to be picking up. On the other hand, if the jobless "recovery" in the US is any guide, there may be considerable discontent with the KMT still in December, especially if the agreements with China continue to be as one-sidedly pro-China as the current ones (think that will ever appear in the international media? Naw). With the KMT keeping former President Chen Shui-bian in detention where his bombast and self-centeredness cannot hurt the DPP, Chairman Tsai of the DPP has been effective in moving the party into the post-Chen era. Meanwhile the KMT has displayed an astonishing electoral ineptitude.
Congratulations to the DPP brain trust, and the candidates on winning, and a special thanks to Hsiao Bi-khim in Hualien, who turned in a great effort in a solid KMT area with a tiny budget. Fantastic work, folks!
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