Saturday, February 27, 2010

DPP Smokes KMT in By-elections

Stopped at Mile High Coffee on 130 with awesome views to the mountains in the west, where this lovely young lady served us Hakka specialties. Drew's post on the ride is here.

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.

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.
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 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.
Hsinchu and Taoyuan were considered to be KMT strongholds, though in fact in the district won in Taoyuan, as I posted earlier this month, three of the four townships went DPP in last election. Chiayi was always going to be a lopsided DPP victory. Taoyuan, however, is huge.

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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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really, the biggest losers are the people of Hualien for not electing Hsiao Bi-khim. She is an honest, smart, hardworking women who could do a lot of good for that area.

Islander said...

That's great news about the by-elections. Still a long ways to go to make this a fair two party system, i.e., a more balanced legislature, but encouraging news indeed.

Thomas said...

"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."

Yep yep yep! To those who haven't been following the Chinese news, the Taoyuan by-election was perhaps the most talked about of the four. The amount of effort that King put in to pushing Apollo Chen against the two independent blue candidates and the DPP candidate was astonishing. The win of Huang Jen-shu by a convincing margin has to be a painful one for the KMT.

Another thing I thought of was that the KMT put much much more money into this election than the DPP did and the KMT was STILL not successful. That should leave some heads scratching in the KMT.

Now what about that big surprise that a wire agency is sitting on that Mikeintaipei assures us is a genuine story -- one that would have been harmful for the KMT if it had been announced before the election ao should be announced as early as tomorrow. I am too afraid to speculate :(

Anonymous said...

In other words, despite your constant hand-wringing, TVBS opinion surveys (the question of: "who do you think will win") was right on the money?

OrganicKevin said...

Michael,

I live in Mercer Island, Washington, and am a friend of Paul Snyder. We've ridden together a few times.

Since he pointed me to 'The View from Taiwan', I've been enjoying reading your blog.

Thanks for sharing us your insights from the ground level.

-Kevin-

Michael Turton said...

In other words, despite your constant hand-wringing, TVBS opinion surveys (the question of: "who do you think will win") was right on the money?

Yes, in fact! Which is why I included it. Note how wrong the polls were, though, undercounting the DPP in every case.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I live in Taiwan, but I am from Bellevue Washington and I somehow know Paul Snyder too.

Small world