Sunflower leader Chen Wei-ting finally through in the towel (Taipei Times) and withdrew from the Miaoli legislative by-election over his molestation of women. In addition to the two cases mentioned before, apparently new ones were cropping up. Solidarity.tw has the PTT post that slew Chen's candidacy (in Taiwan young people get their news via old-fashioned bulletin boards, not newfangled PHP forums). I have said all I want to say on this.
Meanwhile, the KMT swept the local elections. ジェームス@jmstwn (whom you should be following on Twitter) pointed out that while the national level KMT is in chaos, the local level party machines are ticking along. The Taipei Times reported:
While the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured the speakers of the Greater Kaohsiung, Yilan County and Chiayi County councils, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) picked up 15, with the remaining four — Hsinchu City, Lienchiang County, Pingtung County and Chiayi City — won by independent councilors.The really hilarious one was Tainan. The DPP had a 29-16 seat advantage over the KMT, but the KMT secured the speakership 29-26, meaning that at least five councilors had switched sides. The nation cynically concluded that the five who switched had been bribed, and that many of the independents who sided with the KMT in elections across Taiwan had been bought. Note that I am not making an accusation, just reporting what others say. I certainly do not believe that the KMT could ever do a thing like that. The Speaker of the county/city councils has all sorts of agenda and other powers that enable them to direct patronage funding to key allies, but note that I would never say that the winning speakers had bribed the councilors with the expectation of getting kickbacks on lucrative construction contracts which they will award to their cronies. Because that just never happens in Taiwan.
Yes, it's deeply frustrating.
President Ma is involved in a lawsuit against Clara Chou, maker of public allegations that he took big bucks from Ting Hsin, the company in the black oil scandal. The Special Investigative Division of the Ministry of Justice is investigating the allegations. The Minister of Justice, always fair minded, said yesterday:
Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday accused Taiwanese media and political pundits of rampant abuse of the freedom of speech and making unsubstantiated accusations, amid widely reported allegations that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his campaign team received an off-the-books political donation from Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團).So... let me get this straight. As the Minister's own agency is investigating the President over shady money allegations, the Minister holds a press conference to accuse the press of making stuff up, obviously alluding to the allegations his ministry is investigating. It's a good thing the Minister is impartial. I'm sure none of the prosecutors under him will take that as a signal.
- Ryan Scoville with excellent commentary on Japan's new/old position on the Senkakus, with stats.
- New Taichung mayor Lin denounces the BRT as basically a scam.
- NYTimes runs another of the ZOMG! The DPP could sour cross-strait relations! pieces we've been seeing since the KMT blowout loss in the recent elections. However, unlike most of those pieces, it provides several quotes from other-than-KMT viewpoints, and ends by noting that Washington probably should think about changing its policy to handle the new reality.
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