First, Bill Clinton is visiting Taiwan next month. Don't miss J Michael's post explaining what it is all about. There's a contest to which questions for Clinton can be submitted, and the "ten most popular" will be chosen. Sure. Anyway, the link is here. Go thou and submit.
There has been an extended debate over proposals to set up some kind of absentee voting system since elections here are like 23 million versions of the return of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem as voters return to where they are registered in order to vote. Taiwan Today posted an article on the latest developments:
The latest measure excludes nationals living abroad, meaning that businessmen in China will have to return home to vote. There had been some fear that China might interfere in absentee voting if the absentee ballot was extended to voters abroad, since ballots would not be secure. Not to mention the irony of Taiwan holding democratic elections in the PRC. Wouldn't that be enlightening?
Saying the ministry is fully cognizant of related stipulations in the Constitution as well as in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, Jiang stressed nationals need to return to Taiwan to vote to elect the president and vice president.
Under the ministry’s plan, all eligible voters, except those who live abroad, will be able to cast their ballots outside the city or county where their household is registered so long as they file an application within a predesignated period.The system will allow people who must be on duty on presidential election days to cast their ballots at the polling booth chosen in their applications. Included are those serving in the military or the police, electoral workers and convicts, as well as students and average citizens living away from their registered household.
UDN, the pro-KMT paper, says that PFP chairman and former KMT heavyweight James Soong's support for DPP defector Yang Chiu-hsing in Kaohsiung, combined with his criticisms of Mayor Hau in Taipei, put the KMT in a bind. Soong is the leader of the PFP, a pan-Blue party allied with the KMT:
The reasons are simple. James Soong's move will leave the KMT with even less room to maneuver. Now all the KMT can do is limit the damage James Soong has inflicted upon the Blue Camp. Soong has clearly made his play. His is attempting to "dump Huang to save Yang" in Kaohsiung. He has blasted Hau Lung-ping for "failure to make Taipei look like a national capital." Soong has already precipitated a complete schism. This forces the KMT to back Huang Chao-shun in Kaohsiung to the bitter end. The KMT now has no choice but to prevent the "James Soong factor" from spreading to Taipei and Xinbei City. If the situation persists, if both Huang and Yang remain in the race to the very end, if both manage to retain over 10% of their diehard supporters, then Huang Chao-hsun stands no chance of getting elected. James Soong's attempt to ensure that Yang gets elected will fail. Therefore, James Soong's move is really intended to split the Blue Camp. His attempt to get Yang elected is merely a pretext.UDN essentially argues that the KMT can't dump Huang to save Yang -- have its voters switch from the KMT's Huang, who cannot win, to Yang, who has a shot at winning -- and thus defeat the DPP's Chen Chu in Kaohsiung, because that would serve Soong. What's the priority? August polling from TVBS showed Yang was actually deriving his support from KMT voters.
The real problem is that Blue Camp voters no longer have the same opinion of James Soong they once did. Any attempt to promote a "dump/save effect" in Kaohsiung hinges on Pan Blue voters' desire to bring down Chen Chu. But this collective desire rests on the premise of "Blue Camp solidarity." James Soong's attempt to exploit this "dump/save effect" involves flagrant attempts to discredit Ma and Hau. These may be unacceptable to most Blue Camp voters. Therefore, Soong's attempt to play the "dump/save card" may on the one hand incite "defeat Chen Chu above all else" sentiment among Blue Camp voters. They may intensify support for Yang Chiu-hsing. They may on the other hand provoke intense Blue Camp voters' anger against James Soong, and persuade them to support Huang to the bitter end. Another possibility is that such offensive tactics may alienate them so badly they boycott the election altogether. These are all reasons why Soong's attempt to persuade voters to "dump Huang to save Yang" may not succeed.
With this "shot in the arm," Yang Chiu-hsing may have overplayed his hand. He has forced the KMT's hand. Now there is no turning back. The KMT must now fight him to the end. Yang's move will inevitably provoke a backlash. It will inevitably incite Blue Camp anger against a common enemy. Also, the Chen Chu camp, seeing Soong and Yang come together, is bound to point to this move and attempt to dissuade Green Camp voters from dumping Chen Chu to save Yang. This will reduce Yang's final vote count. Therefore, once the dust settles, Yang Chiu-hsing may find that his piece of the pie has actually shrunk. The Blue Camp initially had a chance to play the "dump/save card" in the Greater Kaohsiung election. But James Soong's move has mired the Blue Camp in a deadlock.
James Soong's image is not what it used to be. It is no longer what it was years ago. Therefore, persuading voters to "dump Huang to save Yang" will be correspondingly difficult. When Soong lashed out, he immediately impacted the larger political picture. Even Hau Lung-bin was dragged in. Soong's public pronouncements will inevitably become increasingly intemperate. This of course will affect the feelings of Blue Camp voters. Some may agree with Soong. But others may become even more contemptuous of him. In short, for Blue Camp voters, this is highly emotional matter. The impact of Soong's move is not limited to "dump Huang to save Yang" in Kaohsiung. It is bound to impact every one of the five cities elections. It is bound to impact the Ma administration's 2012 re-election bid.
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- Japan building subs in response to China.
- Taiwan woman marries self.
- Road bikes with disc brakes coming soon! Sorry that has nothing to do with Taiwan. I'm just happy.
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