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Mar 20, 2008

Blue Hawks and busses

Note: this whole post is being made in a hurry during breaks and is being continuously updated, but some mistakes may slip through. See original articles and note any errors I've made.

The KMT has been preparing a two part plan for election day to help secure their victory: first, mobilize 40,000 people to observe the vote counting in order to help "prevent fraud," a force they're calling the "Blue Hawks;" and second, to bus in older or disabled KMT party members to the polls in the south, a move they were calling a "service" for those members who could not conveniently cast a vote.

Update: The DPP found out about the operation from some internal KMT documents -- the Apple Daily also ran a piece on the KMT setting some money aside to make sure it could get the turnout and money it wanted, but I think there are two sources here. This mobilization effort was going to cost NT$300,000,000 (US$10million)! (Figures cited ranged from NT$200m to NT$470m). The KMT says it's perfectly legal and did not deny the cost, as far as I can tell. But they also say Hsieh "has no proof" that this is a vote buying attempt. How does that work?

The DPP seized on the busing plan as an "obvious" example of vote buying and is suing. It may be illegal by Taiwanese standards (see article 86 of the Presidential Election and Recall Law). I know this is perfectly legal in the US. As far as I know, no official word from the CEC on this yet. As a result, the KMT apparently canceled this busing plan (according to Su's quote in that article, but that's not clear from other sources yet).

The media blitz over the election in these closing two days is so full of mud, suspicion, and accusations, I don't think much of anything said at this point is going to influence any voters. Barring the Hsieh camp can actually produce a valid green card of Ma's (which I'm sure they can't), I don't see anything changing the current spread. This might actually be worth a point or two ... but I still don't want to bet on it.

Also of note, Jonathan Adams report on the DPP's loss of the youth vote, which, anecdotally, seems true to me. But I also think they're less likely to vote this time around, so I'm not sure how this will really effect things.

According to the United Daily News poll, those in their 20s are also the least likely age group to vote Saturday.

There are 3.67 million people in Taiwan between the ages 20 and 29, according to
Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior -- all eligible to vote.

And that's a pretty significant portion of the 17 million or so eligible voters.


Tim Maddog said...

Earlier tonight, Talking Show (大話新聞) quoted a news report from back when Ma Ying-jeou was Minister of Justice in which Ma was quoted as saying that such cases were clearly vote buying. Looks like another example of his many double standards.

YouTube user Taiwan560 uploads that show every day, as you may already know. (I think you linked to one upload by that user recently.) Following that user's standard file-naming habits, it should be in "2008-03-20 大話新聞 P.2-1", but that one doesn't seem to be online yet. I'll check again later and post a link if I can find it.

Tim Maddog

Tim Maddog said...

The video is now viewable here. Right around the 3:37 mark, Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) quotes from a UDN article from April 7, 1994 where Ma, as Minister of Justice, says this stuff is illegal. At the beginning of that segment are some explanations via the Executive Yuan and the Judicial Yuan about the related laws.

Tim Maddog

阿牛 said...

HOLY CRAP! I better put this on the front page. Dear god, I hope people will see this.

Thanks Maddog. I wish I had cable so I could watch Talking Show more!

Tim Maddog said...

I've previously linked to for the delayed online version of "Talking Show," but they've recently switched from WMV format to YouTube, and the video quality has turned to utter crap.

Taiwan560 is getting better-quality video online within hours of the show's broadcast, so I'll be linking those videos from now on -- if I don't get put in jail by Ma's thugs.

Tim Maddog