Tuesday, June 14, 2011

As the Elections Loom 1

The legislative elections are coming up in seven months or so (yes, that fast). Focus Taiwan offered a piece on the opinions of Frederic Chien, a longtime KMTer who has held a number of important posts. Chien thought the KMT has a real possibility of losing the Presidential election....
In short, Chien said, Taiwan is a society in which a kind-hearted man will hurt himself simply because of his kind-heartedness.

"And the president is a prime example of this, " Chien added.

Chien disagreed with the interviewer's projection that Ma would win the presidential election in January 2012 but that it would be a "hard-won victory."

Chien cited unbiased polls that showed former Premier Su Tseng-chang or Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen could beat Ma by between 4 percent and 6 percent of the vote in the next presidential election.

"There should be no more doubts about the opinion polls, " Chien said.

Another worry that Chien openly expressed during the TV interview was the low turnout of pan-blue voters in the various elections held since 2008.
The low turnout problem for the KMT might be boosted by the fact that the legislative and presidential elections are being held on the same day, meaning that voters who might not have turned out for a Presidential election will be out to vote for the local legislative rep, and thus might cast a vote for Ma while they are at it.

To me more interesting is how the paired election will affect DPP voters. Too many of them split their vote, voting DPP for the Presidency but KMT because their local legislator sent a bottle of wine for their son's wedding or once showed up to fix a car accident for them. One wonders if it will help the DPP by not only getting more voters out but getting them to think about about how they vote too.

Chien seems to be speaking sincerely and not out of a desire merely to motivate pan-Blue votes. To buttress his point about the polls, in the prediction market at NCCU, Tsai is still leading Ma 50.9 to 48.4 (note that this number expresses who is expected to win, not by how much the win will be). A recent DPP poll has Tsai up by about a point. According to the DPP pollster, Tsai crushes Ma among neutral voters, 55-35. But we have months of screw-ups by both parties still ahead of us.

Stories about the James Soong and his party, the People First Party (PFP) were also running around this week. The Taipei Times reported that the PFP appears determined to play a spoiler role to augment its power in the Legislative Yuan.
In view of People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) recent declaration that his party would nominate a handful of candidates for January’s legislative elections, cooperation between the PFP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for the elections has fallen under a dark cloud as room for negotiation grows narrower, KMT officials said.

A KMT official who wished to remain unnamed said the current tension between the two parties suggested that a meeting between Soong and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, is very unlikely, adding that if things stay as they are, the outlook for PFP-KMT cooperation is unlikely.

According to KMT Culture and Communications Committee director Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓), the KMT extended a message to Soong for a meeting between him and Ma, but the PFP has not responded.
One important aspect of the KMT's success in 2008 was its ability to corral votes that had previously gone to the PFP and return them to the KMT. The PFP melted away with many of its legislators returning to the KMT. Soong is probably angling for some concession from the KMT not to cause problems; it was also rumored this week that he would run for President. However, Soong had little effect on the Taipei mayor election when he ran in 2006 and I don't see how he will have that big an impact on the 2012 Presidential election, which he surely will realize. He will be 70 next year.
Daily Links:

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.


Okami said...

Pretty smart of Song to play the extortion card. He knows he has no chance of winning though who knows with his ego. He does know that the race will most likely be close and that any support he pulls will come out of the blue column thereby decreasing their chances of keeping the presidency. It comes down to how many pieces of silver he wants versus how many pieces the KMT is willing to give him to keep him from becoming Taiwan's Ralph Nader(spoiler candidate).

I think Tsai will lose and Ma gets 4 more years to sell out Taiwan. On my quiet street, an unprecedented number of structures have gotten the go ahead to be torn down and rebuilt. I'm sure the patronage mills are hard at work solidifying support.

It would be interesting to document local policies to party and the change in voting. I know in Xindian that roads get fixed irregardless of need.and homes that shouldn't be built get built on election years.

Anonymous said...

If the Euro breaks apart this summer, I will double my bet that a 2012 presidential election won't be held in Taiwan. The financial mess in the world will finally implode which in turn will severely cripple the US's foreign policy in Asia. Japan's unsolvable problems make the situation even worse. As it looks now, I see conflict heading our way. I know most Taiwanese think it won't happen, but I think they are in dreamland along with their belief there is a actual status quo. - mp

Nick said...

Jens Kastner in the Asia Times article argues that greater freedoms afforded Taiwanese by visa waivers are a result of Ma Ying-jeou's diplomacy and that under Chen Taiwanese travellers were "eyeballed like people of a Third-World country who abuse visa regulations".

What a load of politicized BS.