Saturday, September 26, 2009

DPP Set to Win in Yunlin, Penghu Voters Reject Referendum

w00t! Good news breaks out all over Taiwan today. Yesterday I blogged on the imminent arrival of gambling in the Penghu, which everyone was saying was a foregone conclusion. After all -- Penghu was a KMT stronghold, and the KMT strongly supported gambling. The KMT-controlled legislature had loosened the restrictions on referendum, relaxing the rule that 50% of eligible voters must vote, just to get it passed. There had been a media blitz, and the big money was waiting for the opportunity to "develop" the island as a gaming mecca. It looked like a sure thing.

Incredibly, the KMT could not even get the vote it wanted in the place that it controls. As the Liberty Times reported today:
...which is to say that the referendum to allow international standard hotels with gaming (gambling) was defeated 17,359 to 13,397, in an area of 73,651 eligible voters. 112 polling stations were erected. The referendum was defeated 56%-44%. Remember, Ma won the election 58-41 in a "landslide."

It is easy to see why the Ma Administration has been fighting so strongly to keep the ECFA economic agreement with the CCP China from being submitted to a public referendum.

My wife asked the $64,000 question -- "But do you think they will honor the outcome?"

Meanwhile, in the Yunlin legislative by-election, in the Second District of Yunlin County, the DPP candidate is apparently on the way to a crushing victory. Last I heard the vote was over 70K for the DPP, and less than 25K for either of the other two candidates. The by-election was held because KMT Legislator Chang Suo-wen was convicted of vote-buying by the Taiwan High court June 30 and the election was annulled. The Taiwan News said yesterday:
The poll is a three way race between 40-year-old social activist DPP Yunlin County Councilman Liu Chien-kuo, who was defeated by the vote-buying KMT candidate, the official KMT nominee Yunlin Technology University Professor Chang Keng-hui and Yunlin Water Conservancy Society President Chang Kui-yuan, the father of the errant ex-KMT lawmaker.

As Chang Keng-hui's campaign manager is none other than ex-KMT Yunlin County mayor and "boss" Chang Jung-wei, who recently served a prison term for vote buying himself, the campaign constitutes a direct face-off between two KMT candidates directly linked with convicted vote-buyers and a direct victim of "black and gold" money politics running for the DPP.
A glorious day.
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Anonymous said...

THat is great news all around, and, I wonder, is it indicative of future elections?

Anonymous said...

The results of the referendum and the major DPP victory in Yunlin may give some KMT members some reservations in Ma's abilities to promote policy between factions and at the grass roots level. Despite being the party of the powerful collectivities of big business, patronage, factions and organized crime, the grass roots has not been completely marginalized. It is too premature to suggest this the beginning of a crisis of confidence in Ma, but it gives us some hope there is still a future for democracy in Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

Waaay too early to say anything. Yunlin is Green stronghold, too. So it may not mean anything at all.

Marc said...

The people of Penghu did the right thing by opposing this. We should all now try to visit Penghu as often as possible and support the local economy. Spread the word!

Thomas said...

Yay! I am so relieved. The greens need some encouragement. And this will overshadow the Kadeer news. If only they could use this to get back on their feet and present policies that all of Taiwan could support. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Dwayne Elizondo said...

Definitely good news the referendum failed.

3 cheers for Penghu!!!

The people in Kinmen are probably happy, now they can push for casinos.


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Thomas said...

He has won officially! I can only imagine what is going through minds in China right now. As for Ma, his position can't help but be weakened. Next hurdle: standard local elections. Fingers crossed there.

Ma's position can only be weakened at the moment. But I am sure they will find some way to spint this. I am just happy that the Kadeer visa will be put on the back burner in favor of something that the KMT will be fagellating itself for in the morning.

I also wonder what the reaction of the Old Guard would be. If accounts of Wu wanting to share power with Ma are correct, you can bet that some in the party will be pushing for more control over Ma soon......... i hope.

Richard said...

Was the move to eliminate the 50% voter turnout threshold just for this specific referendum? How was that done? Could that not be done in future referendums to be held too?

Anonymous said...

The KMT will declare the referendum invalid because of some fake reason and hold another one until the outcome is as desired.

Michael Turton said...

Richard, yes it was specific to this piece of legislation. The KMT-controlled legislature attempted to create the outcome they wanted. That's why the Penghu victory is so amazing.

Anonymous said...

WIth these two losses the KMT is going to make all sorts of pronouncements about "better listening to the will of the people" and "presenting policy clearer for people to understand", and then act upon nothing. They do that every time they lose.