Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vote Buying Mars Election

The Diplomat notes that Taiwan is one of the safest places in Asia Pacific -- I guess if you're not driving -- but for vote buyers, it is sheer heaven. Taiwan Today notes:
Prosecutorial agencies around Taiwan have accepted a total of 3,042 cases related to the special municipality elections held Nov. 27, the Ministry of Justice said in a news release Nov. 29.

A total of 183 people have been detained for suspected vote-buying and other irregularities so far. This compares with a figure of 198 prior to last year’s three-in-one elections, the MOJ said.

In addition, 12 indictments involving 36 suspects have already been handed down to date, according to the ministry.

The prosecutorial agencies have uncovered suspected vote-buying involving more than NT$39.24 million (US$1.27 million) in cash. The figure is more than three times the amount for the three-in-one elections and marks a record high in recent years, the MOJ said.

Obviously this only scratches the surface. Remember this:
KMT legislator Hsu Shu-po expressed a similar view, saying that there are only two kinds of votes that could affect election results overnight -- bought votes and sympathy votes.
The shooting of Sean Lien was quite useful.

Of course, anyone who wants to consider the election numbers must also factor in which party got what votes -- and which party engages in the most vote buying. But of course the KMT won the election, and the voters gave Ma a mandate for his China policy. In other news, Dewey trounced Truman....
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! Delenda est, baby.


blobOfNeurons said...

How do they guarantee that the voters follow through after taking the money?

Anonymous said...

In 2000, Chen Shui-bian successfully campaigned (ironically) against KMT corruption and the KMT cited this as the reason for their loss. They promised to reform and for about 3 election cycles the government campaigned heavily against vote buying. It was a major issue surrounding each subsequent election. Under the Chen administrations there were several high profile campaigns against the practice.

There were cases of politicians arguing over the value of pens, and if they constituted vote buying.

Under the Ma administration there has been a noticeable absence of an anti-vote buying message.

I am aware of two cases of vote buying (both KMT candidates) and the price for each vote was NT300.

There is a certain segment of the Taiwanese population that will whip itself into a frenzy when the word "corruption" is tossed about. But that term seems to only apply to Taiwan's former president.

If there is really a true concern with corruption, then it starts and stops with the Taiwanese people who allow themselves to be corrupted by vote buyers and give their support to those who engage in the practice. Selective distain for "corruption" will only result in more cynicism.

If this pattern continues, general voters may respond as they did in 2000 and 2004.

Anonymous said...

I think I should also point out that immediately after the 2000 campaign, it was clear the KMT's strategy was not aimed at reform, but on spearing the DPP to look corrupt. It many people at the time commented that the, "They're just as dirty as we are" strategy was in effect.

I think this may have some bearing of how and why the prosecution/persecution of Chen Shui-bian has taken such precedent in KMT policy and electioneering.

Chen took away one major point the DPP could use against the KMT allowing the KMT to maintain its system of institutional corruption while paying lip service to reform.

Anonymous said...

Mars has elections already?

Michael Turton said...


Michael Turton said...

bob, they have several ways, where the ballot is stamped, for example. But KMT intelligence on who votes how is good because precincts are small, around a thousand. If you know you have 400 reliable votes and buy 200 votes and you don't get 600 votes, there's a problem.

les said...

A lot of vote-buying relies on the fear of reprisal and some twisted sense of debt owed to the buyer.
The village / town KMT stooges are known to all and it's usually unstated threat that 'we will know' if the bought vote isn't cast. This is helped along by the knowledge that the civil service that is counting is mainly pan-blue.
Rural voters are especially susceptible to the idea that the politicians are their betters. When someone comes and offers politely to buy their vote, it's considered rude to refuse. Likewise, once the vote is bought it's considered rude not to cast it.
Quite a few of my green-leaning friends have older relatives who consistently sell their votes for these reasons, and no amount of explaining or cajoling will change that behavior.

Anonymous said...

A 'Green' or a 'Blue' voter will never turn to either color just because of big bucks.

It's just like the 'blues' will never believe that CSB was shot then like the 'greens' will tell you that Sean's shooting was just a show.


les said...

@ jack: Parents / older relatives of green-leaning friends. The ones selling the votes are not particularly interested in politics per se, but are independence minded and profess a Taiwan identity rather than a Chinese one. The kids live in the city and are DPP supporters. I think the older relatives will sell their vote to the first person who comes to the house, and it's out of some sense that when the 'VIPs' ask, you have to go along, especially when they come bearing gifts. I don't believe they are ignoring deep-seated beliefs for this. More likely they are apathetic about politics in general. Then there is the fear factor, that things will go badly for them if they don't go along with the requests and the 'VIP' doing the asking gets (re)elected anyway.

Anonymous said...

les, you're out of touch on this one. dpp voters will never be bought by kmt candidates and vice-versa.

Anonymous said...

If the claims of vote buying is true then it means the toxic pollution in Rende , Tainan will continue.

It means that those in power will remain to allow these toxic and foul smelling fumes to continue to rule the skies and lungs of the people of Tainan.

The only difference now is that those volcanic factories are only releasing their black exchaust during night time!!!

What a clever scheme!!! How lucky (for their candidate winning) ( or unlucky for continued smoke inhalation!) the people of Tainan who have another version of powerful Formosa plastics in their midst forever!