Sunday, August 08, 2010

DPP Splits

Seen on an ATM: Attention! The gangster may use the English operation interface to cheat you!

An aspect of the KMT Adminstration's drive to place Taiwan in China's orbit that the international media seldom comment on is role of ECFA and other agreements in supporting local political arrangements. One of these was bluntly pointed out by President Ma yesterday when he claimed that ECFA will create 34,009 (note, that is "09" exactly not "10" or "08") jobs in the five municipalities in Taiwan. Not coincidentally, the year end elections have the mayoral positions for those five municipalities up for grabs, and in all of them the opposition is performing well at this point.

In Kaohsiung DPP politician Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) has split the DPP -- apparently -- by formally announcing that he is running in the mayoral election for the Greater Kaohsiung Municipality. The pan-Green papers had quite a bit of commentary, with some arguing that Yang may well split the KMT vote since he will need KMT support to make his candidacy go. He has received endorsement from Master Hsing Yun, the pro-China head of Fuoguangshan, it is also reported.

Yang's chances of winning in Kaohsiung are nil; pro-DPP voters will vote overwhelmingly for Chen Chu. Voters in local elections are usually quite saavy -- recall that when James Soong ran for Taipei mayor he got only a handful of votes. Also, the vote consists of both Kaohsiung city and Kaohsiung county. Chen Chu's narrow victory in the last election corresponds to only part of the electorate. In the last election for Kaohsiung County chief in 2005, the DPP polled 353,232 votes to the KMT's 244,015. That coupled with the Kaohsiung city vote likely means that Chen Chu can lose a few thousand votes to Yang and still win. However, the winner of that 2005 Kaohsiung County Chief election? Yang Chiu-hsing. So there may be some sentiment out there for him still....

Yang may inspire another DPP politician in Tainan to go it alone. Reportedly, Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) will jump into the race in Tainan since he lost the party primary.

Compare the actions of these two politicians with those of the loser in Taichung, Lin Chia-lung. Lin was decisively beaten by Jason Hu in the last election. He has gracefully stepped aside for Su Chia-chuan this time around. If only everyone in the DPP had that kind of common sense and class.
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Marc said...

Anyone on Facebook can join Rendy Lu's fan page. It's likely, as AP likes to say, a "hotbed" -- but one of pro-Taiwan hero worship.

If you haven't been following the ascent of Lu, who smashed Andy Roddick at Wimbledon recently, in a follow-up interview after his win, Lu made it explicitly known that he is from Taiwan, is Taiwanese, and is not Chinese or from Chinese Taipei or any other place.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks man. I hope Rendy Lu wins big and someday makes a splash for us!

M said...

Yang Qiuxing and Xu Tiancai are both popular incumbents. I can see why they feel aggrieved, particularly as they were denied nomination on the basis of rather unscientific telephone surveys. Do the DPP not have any better nomination strategy?

Lin Jialong had already lost badly twice to Hu. He didn't really have much choice but to step aside.

This situation is not good for the DPP, because although they are unlikely to lose either of their southern strongholds, they will have to put more resources into defending them. This could affect the election in the two Taipeis and Taichung.

Yang has already been courting light-blue voters by "thanking" the central government for its work post-Morakat. This is a striking reversal of his previous trenchant criticism. I think he will come second in Kaohsiung.

The DPP is still riven by factionalism. In contrast, the KMT is looking relatively united behind its candidates. This could make the difference between 2 wins for the DPP and 3 or 4 wins.

Michael Fahey said...

The completely unsubstantiated word in green circles here in Taipei is that Yang has a bunch of messy corruption scandals hanging over his head and has been pressured into running by the KMT so as to escape prosecution.

Meanwhile a blue China Times reader in southern Taiwan suggested Saturday that when the KNT loses in Tainan and Kaohsiung despite the DPP splits there, it will just put an exclamation point on KMT weakness in the south.

StefanMuc said...

Well by running in a primary of a party you really enter a moral obligation to abide by it's results. If you don't feel bound by the decision of the party members then you can decide to run as an independent right from start, not after being asked to step aside.

That said: primaries as telephone surveys? That doesn't seem to do internal democracy justice.

M said...

Well by running in a primary of a party you really enter a moral obligation to abide by it's results. If you don't feel bound by the decision of the party members then you can decide to run as an independent right from start, not after being asked to step aside.

Yes, you are right. Even though the telephone surveys don't seem the fairest way of choosing a candidate, everyone (including Yang) agreed to the rules of the game and to abide by the result.

According to one DPP supporting friend, the issue might be Chen Ju's rather abrasive personality. Although the DPP has sent heavyweights down from Taipei to placate Yang, Chen has taken a rather dismissive attitude towards him. Apparently he feels very aggrieved by this. She probably doesn't care much as she is sure to win whatever.

However, by running Yang hopes to consolidate support in KHH county. Some people are worried that after the merger the rural areas will get ignored as more resources are ploughed into the city. This sentiment might be something that Yang can build on over the longer term.

Michael Turton said...

Build on for what? A legislative position?

M said...

Build on for what? A legislative position?

Yang probably thinks he has a chance of winning this time, and I guess if he can completely squeeze the blue vote he might have an outside chance. The KMT candidate seems very weak and there are still a lot of blue voters in KHH city. And he will have supporters in KHH county who will still turn out for him.

If he gets close maybe he would be in with another shot in the future, particularly if people in the former county feel they are being ignored after the merger.

A run for the legislature is another possibility, but I would have thought the party would have supported him for that anyway in exchange for not running against Chen Ju.

Interesting to see what Xu Tiancai does as well. At the moment most people seem to think that he is less likely to run. He's already tried that once in the past and lost.