Saturday, October 17, 2015

KMT Crampain I: Eric Chu now The Man

Circulating on the net before the vote: Retain Hung!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
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the Chairman of the KMT, Eric Chu, is now the KMT presidential candidate after an extraordinary KMT party congress repealed former candidate Hung Hsiu-chu's nomination and then nominated Chu. 812 of the 891 delegates voted to oust Hung.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.

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.)


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.
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.

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) ‏@JMichaelCole1 
KMT's Eric Chu uses fear tactics against DPP in speech: "We're against violence...spit on populism...for cross-strait peace."
Chu 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.

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.
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Raku said...

I was thinking of commenting or writing an e-mail to the author of that tone-deaf Guardian (shocking how often they get it wrong, I otherwise quite like that paper) article, but the first commenter already did so, and very well.

I quote:

"Corrections to the article: 1. The ‘immediate causes’ paragraph embarrassingly fails to mention the one key cause: KMT’s being increasingly out of touch with the mainstream Taiwan electorate and population, the overwhelming majority of whom (as polled monthly by the government) identifies as Taiwanese. 2. The KMT government’s 21 sub-agreements under the Economic Common Framework Agreement between China and Taiwan have mainly benefited Taiwan’s major corporations, and hurt Taiwan’s SMEs, while Taiwanese wages have been stagnant in real terms for more than a decade, with real estate prices soaring. 3. The DPP did not co-opt last year’s pro-democracy (not: anti-China) Sunflower Movement. Some individual DPP MPs made some futile attempts to co-brand with the movement, but overall the DPP has not tried to co-opt the movement at all. From day one until this day, the Sunflower Movement has steered clear from any association with any political party. The young generation, and most people under forty, do not even think in Blue-Green (KMT-DPP) terms anymore. The landslide victory of independent candidate Ko Wen-je in the Taipei mayoral elections last year is a potent example of this. 4. As for cross-Strait relations: in her key address on 3 June 2015 in Washington, Tsai Ying-wen, the DPP candidate widely expected to win the presidency in January’s elections, emphasized that these relations would develop according to the will of the Taiwanese people, under due process (a cross-strait oversight law), and the existing ROC Constitution. Tsai promised stability and predictability. She made all the right commitments before and during the trip. Washington loves and backs her (as China is getting more aggressive in the South China Sea, Taiwan’s importance rises; Tsai also will raise military budgets for arms purchases from the US. So the US military, industry, and Capitol Hill are happy with her.) She’s the only Taiwanese leader ever to be received in the White House and the Pentagon. On the very same day Taiwan executed six deathrow prisoners to push this feat out of the headlines."

Anonymous said...

Chu has already been labeled "dynamic" in an atrocious Guardian article. Imagine: a dynamic accounting professor.

Mike Fagan said...

If when the elections come, the KMT get everything they feared would happen to them under Hung, then it won't be enough. As much as Hung was what the kids would have ridiculed as an "Obassa", to hang her out to dry like they just did is the political equivalent of eating your own shit. Ghoulish.

Anonymous said...

I am having a hard time believing the way Eric Chu chose to formulate his "acceptance speech" after being applauded, in the same style as "Dear Leader" Kim's, into the KMT presidential candidacy.

He said: "Holding today's provisional party congress may be an agony to us but we need to do it because we not only worry about the future of KMT but, more importantly, also deeply worry for our beloved ROC."

He said: "If the mob party [DPP] were to gain full control of the ruling power, ... would Taiwan still have democracy? Wouldn't we see the democracy fall into violence regime and dictatorship? ... The thought gives us a deep chill in the spine because we fear and we worry for the Taiwanese people's freedom and democracy."

He ended his talk with: "The KMT must continue its efforts to protect ROC, to protect the Taiwanese people, to protect the democracy and to protect the peace across (the Taiwan) Strait."

It almost sounded like a satirical stand-up comedy.

Anonymous said...

Eric Chu:

“I want to tell every Taiwanese and resident of the city that I am doing this because I have to protect the ROC we love, the democratic politics we have fought to preserve and our healthy democracy of checks and balances,” he said.

What a hypocrite. Since when has the KMT ever fought for democratic politics? If it where up them, the party would still be in charge.