Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!Well, as expected, the Chairman of the KMT, Eric Chu, is now the KMT presidential candidate after an extraordinary KMT party congress repealed former candidate Hung Hsiu-chu's nomination and then nominated Chu. 812 of the 891 delegates voted to oust Hung. Chu was selected by acclamation, as party reps stood up to show their support.
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
They now have to cram the pain of a full blown election campaign into the next 90 days... alas, I mourn the loss of Hung, because the campaign is going to begin a long spiral of increasing nastiness, I fear. Hung's rhetoric was so absurd in its excesses it never managed to lower the tone of the campaign. The KMT has no positive policy to offer anymore, one reason it is suffering at the polls. All it has left is negativity... and the DPP has been rumored to have some pretty heavy stuff to use on Chu. That too will drag the tone down...
There were reports of rumors that heavyweights Wang Jin-pying, the Speaker of the legislature and the unofficial head of the Taiwanese KMT, and Wu Den-yi, the Veep who is known to covet the presidency, would stage a revolt, but as usual, nothing came of it. Those who wish to build on the strength of Wang Jin-pyng are basically trying to erect a tower out of tapioca pudding. Hung has said she will go quietly into that good night. Sorry, no split imminent, no revolt.
A key issue is how many of Hung's people will remain with the Chu campaign...
Many questions await, and much beer will be swilled in speculation. Frozen Garlic analyzes whether Chu should resign as mayor.
Let’s start with the calendar. The election law requires that a by-election be held within three months of a resignation. A few days ago in the legislature, the head of the electoral commission stated that they would need at least two months of preparation time after the resignation to hold a by-election. In other words, if Chu were to resign between October 16 and November 19, the by-election would almost certainly be held on January 16, concurrent with the presidential and legislative elections. If Chu wants the by-election to be held after the presidential election, he has to wait until at least November 20. Elections are always on a Saturday, and it is highly unlikely the CEC would schedule such a large-scale by-election on Jan 23 or 30, the two Saturdays immediately after the general election. Feb 6 and 14 fall during the lunar new year holiday, so the earliest reasonable date for a by-election is Feb 20. (February 27 is also out of bounds due to the national holiday for Feb 28.)Read the whole thing, because it is excellent, but I just wanted to focus on the timing, because it is so important. Most everyone expects that the DPP would win a by-election in New Taipei City, which is the nation's most populous municipality. Any way you slice it, a significant portion of the voters of the nation's most populous municipality are going to be annoyed at Chu. If Chu does a(nother) cynical move like wait on the decision to force a later by-election in Feb, voters may well take out their annoyance on his city's KMT legislative candidates, of which there are 12.
The recent speculation about the electoral calendar seems to imply that he will wait until late November or early December to resign so that he can run in the by-election. This is a bad strategy. If he waits until then to announce his decision, he will still have to answer questions for a full month. In other words, he will have a month of telling the public that it isn’t a problem, and then he will backtrack and admit that he needs to resign. He could also announce today that he will resign, but he won’t officially submit his resignation until late November because of the calendar. In that case, he will be open to attacks that he is playing politics with the mayor’s office. In order to maximize KMT interests, he will be leaving New Taipei City effectively rudderless for four full months. Moreover, if he resigns but then runs in the by-election, he will still be open to these same charges. What is the difference between having a lame-duck interim mayor appointed by the central government and delegating most of the power to his deputy mayor while he is away? Either way, the city government is leaderless for several months.
Then there is the Veep choice.
TVBS polls done Friday before the Congress have Tsai over Hung, 47-31, with 66% saying they want Chu to step down as mayor of the City Formerly Known as Taipei County. Remember he promised not to run and promised to finish his term as mayor.
Interestingly, J Michael Cole, a better man than I who amazingly watched the Congress, which I could not do since there were no general anesthetics in my house, tweeted:
J Michael Cole (寇謐將) @JMichaelCole1Chu has adopted some of Hung's vocabulary, including attacking the Sunflowers as violent, attacking the DPP as populist, and saying that a DPP victory would be a threat to cross-strait peace. The Legislature must be saved for the ROC!! That's why the switch was made, as my readers know. I am glad he wasn't conciliatory and statesmanlike, I feared he might be. Very reassuring to know that when you scratch a mainlander elite, you get the same ideologue underneath, whether it is Ma, Hung, or obviously, Chu.
KMT's Eric Chu uses fear tactics against DPP in speech: "We're against violence...spit on populism...for cross-strait peace."
J Michael Cole observes at Thinking Taiwan:
Although the effect on voters’ decision remains uncertain, Hung’s replacement will likely stop the bleeding at the local level and ensure a modicum of unity for the party, especially in the south, where Chu, a “half-Taiwanese,” may have more appeal than the “Mainlander” Hung. Whether the abandoned candidate, who has shown no interest in being Chu’s running mate, remains defiant will also have an impact on party unity.Of course, I am looking forward to the articles in the western media duly promoting Chu as "charismatic" and "pragmatic." Can't wait to see Banyan transfer the crush on Ma to the crush on Chu.
- A way cool map of salaries and income disparities in Taiwan
- Water Park disaster kills 12 and burns 500, but... only 1 person indicted, and no government people. Who could have predicted that?
- BBC on the change of Chu for Hung.
- SCMP on how Beijing must woo the youth. Doesn't get what's happened in Taiwan, but more likely, doesn't want to say it aloud: most, not just youth, rejects annexation to China.
- The Guardian has a long analysis of the election, often sympathetic, but with things basically wrong. Procrastination, in the Taiwan case, does not mean putting off evil decisions. It means making them every day, to spend another day out of the clutches of Beijing -- and making them without the support of leftish papers like the Guardian and other Left media.
- Cole: does Beijing believe its own official line on Taiwan?
- Typhoon Koppu is going to hit Taiwan next week.
- Rukai village in Pingtung makes world heritage list.
- Fuel prices could fall... ahead of the election.
- WantWant on Election Tourism from China
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