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Mar 28, 2007

Wang to visit China as a bipartisan? Not running for president?

There are reports today that Wang Jin-pyng will be visiting China "in the capacity of the governmental leader most representative of Taiwanese public opinion" (台灣最高民意機關領導人的身分). There is talk that he would sign an understanding with the Chinese Communist Party as a "cross-partisan representative"(率跨黨派立委登陸簽署重大協議). Rumor has it the DPP government has even given him room to negotiate or sign an agreement (可能獲政府公權力授權).

The reports seem to be substantial, since Ma has said he'd be happy to see Wang succeed and KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤) has warned not to expect a miracle overnight. Wang seems to be trying to stay quiet.

The PRC's Taiwan Affairs Council has also made a really uncharacteristically fast response, saying Wang would be welcomed to come "at the appropriate time, in the appropriate capacity." They said the visit would be to talk about opening up banking and shipping regulations between the areas, and reiterated China welcomes any politician who accepts the "92 concencus" and opposes Taiwanese independence."


The second report today is that Wang Jin-pyng has said under the table he will not run in the KMT primary and will hold off on deciding to run as an independent until there's more information about Ma's special allowance fund case. Even Beijing is reporting that at People's Daily.

If this is true, I think it shows a real shrewdness; Wang's seeing he'll probably lose a battle within the KMT at this point, and if he "splits the party" he'll probably be left in the cold by the voters; so it seems he's gambling something will go wrong with Ma's case (he'll be guilty), and then an opportunity will present itself for Wang to run as an "independent" with the KMT's full support.

Mar 27, 2007

DPP opinion poll; voting from overseas

The DPP, when taking an opinion poll that will be weighed when nominating candidates for teh 2008 presidential election, has opted for the softest version of "excluding blues."

The whole idea with this is that party members are such a small percentage of DPP-leaning voters that an opinion poll is at least as relevant as a primary in choosing your candidates. At the same, the candidate is being picked to represent the DPP, so the party wants to ask DPP-leaning voters what they think rather than ask the public at large.

Past proposals included excluding anyone who had not voted for the DPP in 3 consecutive national elections -- which would exclude a great many moderates. Some green legislators are not pleased with the decision.

Meanwhile, the KMT came up with an idea last week to make it possible for overseas citizens to vote remotely instead of coming back to Taiwan. They've been placing it at the top of the legislative agenda this week, probably because it'll be more popular than their CEC bill.

The obvious idea is to increase the number of businessmen in China who can vote without coming home (as seen from direct references to Taishang 台商 being treated as second class citizens by the DPP).

The KMT notes that according to their numbers, up to 15% of eligible voters cannot conveniently cast a ballot. They rhetorically ask the DPP "what's so scary about deepening democracy?"

I actually strongly support this sort of legislation in principal. Having to fly back to Taiwan to vote is quite absurd. But I think this sort of bill should do two additional things: (a) allow all citizens over 18 years of age to vote (currently the voting age is 21); and (b) take steps to ensure minimum voter fraud.

Now the problem with this bill is it proposes to allow people to vote electronically (using 通訊) from overseas, and if that won't be prone to massive abuse, I don't know what would be. The specifics are not normally discussed in media reports, so its hard to say much about that.

What can you do if you get so much fraud that you can't really tell the real votes from the fake ones? Or what if there is an inadequate paper trail?

In other words, the KMT should at least notice what problems are plaguing other electronic voting systems and consider that those occur *in country,* where the votes are easier to varify and voter fraud would be a bit harder.

Mar 23, 2007

Round 2 of DPP legislative registration

A friend of mine is getting the list of KMT legislative registrees for me, since it's not on the KMT website yet.

Here's what we got in round two this week from the DPP for registerees:



Not a big news day yet

For the most part, the news today is fake issues and rumor mongering.

There's lots of trash flying around about Chiu Yi planning to run as a legislator next term (even though the CEC said he doesn't qualify). The KMT is supporting him as well as his bid for a "special appeal."

To clarify, the CEC now seems to be unsure if Chiu Yi can run or not now!

Perhaps the KMT wants to control the CEC not only to slow down or block a referendum on the party assets issue, but also to make sure their guys can run for election even when not qualified and to ensure a more KMT-favorable outcome in the event of another close finish in 2008.

You can see a little of the video about 45 seconds into this clip of him on top of the truck which is ramming into a police barrier. It's not on this clip, but he also was leading the crowd in a countdown for one of those rams. Several police officers were injured in this riot which was insisting on (an illegal) recount of the votes after the KMT-PFP lost the 2004 election.

I hate to imagine what he would have done with any ballots he got his hands on if he had actually got through. Who knows how that would have affected any recount controversy.

Mar 22, 2007

Chiu Yi guilty, No arms for CEC, independent Wang? and more

Chiu Yi (邱毅) has lost his last appeal and has been sentenced for his role in an illegal demonstration in 2004. He has a 14 month sentence. The article says he is now facing the prison sentence and cannot run in the year end election. Horray! He also held a press conference to say A-bian had intervened to make sure he went to jail. DPP legislators have called for his right to leave the country to be restricted if there's any hint he's going to flee.

The KMT and DPP were both kicking around the idea of trading the arms bill for the CEC law. The KMT said they had to respect the PFP and hoped to talk to them more about it; the DPP said they liked the plan, but it was going to come down to the PFP's stance; and the PFP said forget it. For now, there's no chance it'll pass.

The KMT has a lot more people who want to run for the legislature (at least 152) than the DPP has (97 or so at this point?). That's good from the perspective of getting some defections over to the green side. In any case, the KMT says it will deal with each election area at a different time between April and June.

The DPP presidential candidate debate is this weekend.

Wang Jin-pyng refused to rule out running for president as an independent "during the negotiation phase." That seems to be a surprisingly strong statement from him. And he is not registered as a candidate for the 2007 election yet, a strong indication he's not hedging his bets.

The KMT wants Lien Chan, Wang Jin-pyng and Ma Ying-jeou to all show up for their big parade on 3/31. The parade, prompted by the name changes related to Chiang Kai-shek, is sure to be a doozy. The official them for the parade is: "Defend the Republic of China, oppose hatred, oppose corruption, oppose Taiwanese Independence; [We] want work, want clean government, and want peace" (捍衛中華民國,反仇恨、反貪污、反台獨;要工作、要清廉、要和平). They will also hold an event to remember the 30th anniversary of Chiang Kai-shek's death on April 5th.

Another clash in the Legislative Yuan is assured today. The KMT will again try to pass their bill that would assign seats to the Central Election Commission based on the proportional seats the party has in the legislature, and the DPP has vowed to prevent it again. The KMT move is probably meant to prevent any referendum the KMT sees as "scary" from being held at the same time as the legislative or presidential election.

The KMT stressed the lack of faith people have in the legal system and their hope it will be saved. This lack of faith ios a result of recent corruption charges, arrests, prosecutions and rumors. I am glad to be in an era where the guys can actually get charged, arrested and put in jail for these crimes. Of course, not many of them are getting caught. Guys in the business world tell me things are just as corrupt now as under the KMT, but you don't even know if your bribe will be effective (unlike before).

Some lawyers were at a civic conference talking about the KMT ill-gotten assets issue, and lawyer Chen Da-cheng (陳達成) suggested that private citizens who's property was taken should apply to have that property returned. The lawyer cited articles 71 and 72 of civic law, which he said should be basis enough to get the courts to return the property.

President has said he will, at least temporarily, not moderate negotiations over a future DPP presidential candidate. He did not rule out further negotiations at a later date.

Mar 21, 2007

Slow news day

The only thing making a big splash was the statement, made on Formosa TV last night by VP Annette Lu, that Premier Su Chen-chang threatened to resign if Chen didn't at the height of the Shih Ming-te business. She further said if it hadn't been for herself and Yu Shyi-kun, Chen probably would have resigned.

Su laughed it off, asking how resigning would have helped him; Yu said Lu's statement was "very close to the reality;" Frank Hsieh seemed to have been smart enough not to say anything.

Chen Shui-bian came out himself and said Su had made no such threat, but has offered a resignation on four occasions.

So other than this molehill that looked like a mountain from a distance, not much.

Mar 20, 2007

Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳)

I thought I had heard the last of her when I burned a copy of the Scoop CD for a professor in 2001. I was wrong.

(My favorite part about burning that CD was the professor's comment the next day. "I watched it with my wife last night. The guy didn't seem to know what he was doing, but she obviously did.")

National Language Development Law

I'm rather upset about the way the press is talking about the new law on languages the cabinet wants to pass. Like this UDN article. (GOD that's annoying. And how can he complain about the law not setting a clear 'official language' [inherently political] while saying language should not be a political topic?)

The law does nothing to reduce or discourage the use of Mandarin. It merely says the government may no longer compel people to use any one language over another and that all languages are considered equal.

This takes away the official position of Mandarin as the "national language" and recognizes the diversity of Taiwan and its language scene. It's sort of a formal correction for the absurd idea that a language which was native to 15% of the population should be the only "official" language in Taiwan, while Taiwanese, spoken by 70-80% (not to mention Hakka or aboriginal languages) was oppressed.

You can read an official explanation of the new draft law here (.doc format).

This law has been under consideration and draft since 2002. I personally was volunteering for Professor Robert Cheng, head of the Ministry of Education's Mandarin Promotion Council, and translated a draft of the law at that time. At that time, it was called the language equality draft law. It is now the national language development draft law (國家語言發展法草案).

The most important thing the law does is elevate all languages used by the people in Taiwan (本國族群或地方使用之自然語言及手語) to the status of "national language" 國家語言. Mandarin will be called Huayu 華語 in official documents. What is often called is officially Southern Min (not just "Taiwanese," since calling one "Taiwanese" woudl be as useless as calling on the "national language," right? You don't see China Times mentioning that).

The bill says people have the right to use their language unimpeded, both in their private lives and in broadcasts. It says the government should help promote the languages (which they are doing for Hakka and aboriginal languages a lot lately). It says the government should establish prizes to promote use and make sure students can study their language in school. The Ministry of Education said today that the language kids understand will be used in class, but made no move to back away from Mandarin as the defacto class language. And if some places start having more classroom discussion in another language, what's the harm?

While the bill says people have a right to receive government services in their language, it makes no demand that the government publish documents in anything but Mandarin, but also does not limit the government's options to mandarin only. From a practical perspective, it would be some time before anything would be published in another script.

So in any case, screw the reports of "getting rid of Mandarin" and all the other sort of nonsense coming from the blue camp. The Liberty Times had a more friendly report (of course). And Taipei Times did a good job too.

Election roundup (03/20)

DPP legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) pointed out that Chiang Kai-shek was on a list of 100 tyrants in an English book titled Tyrants. He sarcastically asked why the KMT was defending this sort of guy. The KMT's response was that you couldn't do a "one-sided" discussion of history. True, but I don't think they're helping themselves ...

Ma Ying-jeou has made a few campaign promises as well today. First: an end to the "三不定," which I'd translate as the "Three unstables" of political instability, governmental instability and policy instability. (政治不安定、政府不穩定及政策不確定). He also promised to focus on the economy, not politics. His final promise was to loosen restrictions for mainland investment.

More reports today (and no denials) that A-bian figures a primary is the way to decide the next candidate. Frank Hsieh and Su both said they prefer a negotiated solution though.

The KMT killed the name change from Chunghwa Post to Taiwan Post again today.

Predictably, a good number of those going for at large legislative seats are not thrilled about the decision to decide their fate by primary. But the primary is as democratic of a mechanism as a party can have.

While Wang Jin-pyng has said a Second Republic of China constitution was "one path that could be considered," he denied supporting it. The KMT and blue press went balastic on that plan today and yesterday.

I find the recent complaints that Su Chen-chang is using progess he's made as Premier just as a campaign tool to be an unintentional admission: the Executive Yuan and Su are out there doing something, in sharp contrast to the legislature!

Mar 19, 2007

More of this pua̍h-pue business

Green political commentator Wang Ben-hu (汪笨湖) has suggested that Kaohsiung County-2 be decided by pua̍h-pue (擲筊) or casting the devination apple halves. The legislative nominees were not pleased with the suggestion.

This is already the third time I've heard this proposal this election season. The first time was when Miaoli Farmer's Association Chief Officer 苗栗縣農會總幹事 Li Yi-ting (李乙廷) and current Nanzhu Township Warden 南竹鎮長 Kang Shi-ru (康世儒) actually used this method to decide which of them would run in Miaoli-1. Li Yi-ting won.

The second time was when Chen Shui-bian, when at a temple with Annette Lu, reportedly suggested at a temple one day that she pua̍h-pue herself to determine if she would run. This is the third time.

Does anyone else find this really odd??? Even somewhat disturbing in a democracy?

Election roundup (03/19)

In general:

  1. Central Election Commission chair Masa Chang (aka Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄)) has said that a social concensus would be required before holding the legislative and presidential elections at the same time.
  2. DPP legislator Chen Chin-de (陳金德) caused an uproar today by promoting a draft constitution for a "Second Republic of the ROC" that had been written by the TSU affiliated Taiwan Thinktank. It called for a cabinet system (which he agrees would create a very weak presidency) and would write into the constitution the so called "two countries" formula (兩國論), which Taida professor Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) described as "reality." For its part, the KMT decided to fly off the handle, saying they would oppose the draft and saying Chen was seeking "de jure independence" and was trying to spark a war, rhetoric that is typical from the Chinese Communist Party but not the KMT.
On the DPP side:
  1. A group of DPP party members led by DPP Central Committee member Huang Ching-lin (黃慶林) have made a proposal to strengthen the primary and weaken the opinion poll for choosing legislators. They proposed changing party rules to allow the At large nominees to be chosen entirely by primary and for the presidental and districted legislative nominees to be weighted 50% primary, 50% opinion poll. (中央社)
  2. There are conflicting reports on how the DPP whether A-bian has thrown his weight behind a primary or if he will continue to try to negotiate the DPP nominee among the interested parties.
On the KMT side:
  1. Wang supporters said yesterday that a possible "third force" within the party, namely either Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), Wu Den-Yih (吳敦義) or some combination, may sort of overwhelm the current thinking of a Wang/Ma or Ma/Wang ticket. Why? Because Ma may not be able to run legally for the KMT because of this special affairs fund. Note: I think Wang here is not so much promoting either Wu as a candidate so much as he wants to remind everyone of Ma's legal vulnerability and what that might mean to the chances of winning in '08.
  2. Legislator Lee Sen-zong (李顯榮) has already stated that he's angry with the KMT for not negotiating with Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) about who will run in Taipei County, Dist. 1 He's threatening to leave and run on the DPP ticket! The KMT has played down the effects of any such run and also emphasized that they have not given up on negotiating this thing through. (中央社) Note: This is the most obvious of several cracks that should appear within both parties over the nomination process and could lead to defectors.
  3. Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) registered to run for party chairman and indicated she wanted a debate. Candidate Wu Poh-hsiung did not indicate much interest but did not rule the idea out either. (RTI)
  4. As people registered to run in the primary for legislative seats within the KMT, Former Pingtung mayor Wang Chin-shih (王進士) announced his candidacy for Pingtung District 2. Note: I have a particular interest in this district. Unlike last week, I'll wait until all the registration is finished this week before posting the results (with this obvious exception).

Mar 17, 2007

Stray dogs and cats

In Taipei city, with a land area of 271.79 sq. miles, there are an estimated 12,500 stray cats and 4,000 stray dogs. That comes to 14.7 stray dogs and almost 46 stray cats per square mile.


The good news is the government is using the Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program to try and control the population without overcrowding shelters or leaving "territory gaps" that new strays would quickly fill.

DPP pushes party assets referendum

This should more or less destroy any chance of the KMT trading something to pass the arms bill.

The DPP began collecting signatures at the Chiayi train station today in its effort to get a referendum on the KMT party assets going for the next election. Even a TSU city councilor in Chiayi came to sign when he heard about the news. Expect to hear complaints on the evening news about this from the KMT. They will go something to the effect of "the DPP just wants to kill off the KMT, they're stirring ethnic hatred and they're too corrupt that bringing this up is shameless. Besides, the KMT is already taking care of this!"

If you're a legal Taiwanese voter who wants to sign the petition, go to this site. I also strongly recommend viewing the facts at this site and, just for laughs, the KMT's position.

公投討黨產 蔡同榮發起連署 (民視)


DPP at large registrees

Here are candidates that registered to run in at large seats and gender (half of the nominees must be female according to law):

薛凌 F
沈富雄 M
翁金珠 F
王幸男 M
許榮淑 F
羅文嘉 M
田秋堇 F
余政道 M
張秀珍 F
邱議瑩 F
游盈隆 M
蔡煌瑯 M
陳茂男 M
高志鵬 M
洪奇昌 M
周清玉 F
周平德 M
涂醒哲 M
范巽綠 F
張富美 F

77 DPP registrees in districts

I decided instead of uselessly listing all the DPP registration for legislative seats this year, I'd put the information in a table format and post it here. There are a max of 4 candidates registered in any one district now, 22 districts that weren't open for registration, and a handful of districts that had been open to registration but still attract anybody.

The data for this table came from the DPP website.

County/cityDistrict# registeredDPP CandidatesDistrict area

台北市第01選區4陳正德(前台北市議員) 高建智(立委) 林濁水(前立委) 鄭運鵬(立委)北投區、士林區-13里

第02選區4王世堅(立委) 藍美津(立委) 蕭美琴(立委) 黃至君大同區、士林區-38里




高雄市 第02選區2管碧玲(立委) 劉俊雄(前立委)鼓山區、鹽埕區、旗津區、三民區-42里

第03選區2林進興(立委) 李昆澤(立委)三民區-45里

第04選區2黃昭輝(立委) 姚文智(前新聞局長)前金區、新興區、苓雅區、前鎮區-8里


台北縣 第02選區2黃劍輝(立委) 林淑芬(立委)五股鄉、蘆洲市、 三重市-16里


第04選區2曹來旺(立委) 吳秉叡(立委)新莊市-75里

第06選區1王淑慧(立委)板橋市(縣民大道、 湳仔溝以西)-65里

第07選區2莊碩漢(立委) 黃俊哲(縣議員)板橋市(縣民大道、 湳仔溝以東)-61里


第10選區2尤清(立委) 李文忠(前立委)土城市、三峽鎮

第12選區2陳朝龍(立委) 沈發惠(立委)金山鄉、萬里鄉、汐止市、平溪鄉、瑞芳鎮、雙溪鄉、貢寮鄉

宜蘭縣 單一選區2陳歐珀(前宜蘭縣黨部主委) 陳金德(立委)宜蘭市、羅東鎮、蘇澳鎮、頭城鎮、礁溪鄉、壯圍鄉、員山鄉、冬山鄉、五結鄉、三星鄉、大同鄉、南澳鄉

桃園縣第01選區2陳志謀(縣議員) 李鎮楠(立委)蘆竹鄉、龜山鄉、 桃園市-10里

第02選區2彭紹瑾(立委) 郭榮宗(立委)大園鄉、觀音鄉、新屋鄉、楊梅鎮

苗栗縣 第01選區1杜文卿(立委竹南鎮、造橋鄉、後龍鎮、西湖鄉、通霄鎮、銅鑼鄉、苑裡鎮、三義鄉

台中縣 第01選區1蔡其昌(立委)大甲鎮、大安鄉、外埔鄉、清水鎮、梧棲鎮

第03選區2謝欣霓(立委) 簡肇棟(前立委)太平市、 大里市-25里

第05選區3吳富貴(立委) 郭俊銘(立委) 許水彬(縣議員)后里鄉、神岡鄉、大雅鄉、潭子鄉

南投縣 第02選區2湯火聖(立委) 林耘生(立委)南投市、名間鄉、集集鎮、竹山鎮、鹿谷鄉、水里鄉、信義鄉

雲林縣 第01選區1陳憲中(立委麥寮鄉、臺西鄉、東勢鄉、褒忠鄉、土庫鎮、虎尾鎮、四湖鄉、元長鄉、口湖鄉、水林鄉、北港鎮

嘉義縣 第01選區2林國慶(立委) 蔡啟芳(立委)六腳鄉、東石鄉、朴子市、太保市、布袋鎮、義竹鄉、鹿草鄉、水上鄉


台南縣 第01選區2鄭國忠(立委) 葉宜津(立委)後壁鄉、白河鎮、北門鄉、學甲鎮、鹽水鎮、新營市、柳營鄉、東山鄉、將軍鄉、下營鄉、六甲鄉、官田鄉

第02選區2侯水盛(立委) 黃偉哲(立委)七股鄉、佳里鎮、麻豆鎮、善化鎮、大內鄉、玉井鄉、楠西鄉、西港鄉、安定鄉、新市鄉、山上鄉、新化鎮、左鎮鄉、南化鄉


高雄縣 第01選區1顏文章(立委)三民鄉、桃源鄉、甲仙鄉、內門鄉、杉林鄉、六龜鄉、阿蓮鄉、田寮鄉、旗山鎮、美濃鎮、茂林鄉、燕巢鄉、大社鄉、大樹鄉

第02選區2余政憲(前內政部長) 李清福(前高雄縣黨部主委)茄萣鄉、湖內鄉、路竹鄉、永安鄉、岡山鎮、彌陀鄉、梓官鄉、橋頭鄉

第03選區2陳啟昱(立委) 徐慶煌(前中執委)仁武鄉、鳥松鄉、大寮鄉、林園鄉

第04選區2陳慧文(縣議員) 林岱樺(立委)鳳山市

屏東縣 第01選區2鄭朝明(立委) 蘇震清(縣議員)里港鄉、高樹鄉、三地門鄉、霧臺鄉、九如鄉、鹽埔鄉、長治鄉、內埔鄉、瑪家鄉、泰武鄉、竹田鄉、萬巒鄉、潮州鎮



Mar 15, 2007

Wang suggests trading arms for CEC

Wang Jin-pyng has suggested that the DPP and TSU consider passing the arms procurement bill at the same time as the KMT-PFP plan to re-constitute the Central Election Commission, allowing the parties to nominate CEC people based on their share of the legislature (i.e., gaurentee a KMT friendly Central Election Commission).

For some time, the KMT has shown signs of interest in the arms procurement bill but seems to have been held back for fear that the PFP (which hates the arms package) would vote with the DPP on the party assets bill (which would ask for the KMT to return or compensate the government for inappropriately acquired property).

The PFP is infuriated at the suggestion and says they don't like this idea of trading bill passage.

On my end, I'd suggest the DPP seriously consider some way to further discussion with Wang about this, but at the same time, the CEC is doing a great job already. They did a great job with redistricting. And I'm afraid a CEC constituted like this would be exactly like the NCC.

If you recall, the KMT wanted the National Communications Commission reconstituted on party lines. It's the only NCC of it's kind in the world who's members are nominated using a party ratio, which would seem to do nothing for really protecting/effectively regulating the press, and the Constitutional Court already ruled it unconstitutional. They also gave the legislature two years to pass a new law replacing it, but the KMT has no interest in such legislation and wants to ride out the two years. They seem to be trying to do the same thing with this CEC.

So while I like the idea of the legislature finally getting around to doing some horse trading, I'd much rather see the bill from the KMT side be something that wasn't a naked unconstitutional power grab.

To be fair though, the KMT understands they'll certainly win a legislative majority for at least one, probably two elections. That means regardless of what happens in the '08 Prez. election or before, they can get 4-8 years of control over what used to be Executive Yuan institutions if this sort of legislation continues to pass.

I wish there was more respect for the idea of putting up professional, independent institutions and not allowing things like a CEC to be whipped around by political winds.

Military service term to be shortened

Starting next July, the time for compulsory military service in Taiwan will be shortened from 16 months to 14 months. The plan is to shorten compulsory service further to only 12 months by the end of 2007 or beginning of 2008.

This has been a campaign issue since at least 2004, when Lien Chan promised he'd end compulsory military service if elected.

The DPP responded in 2004 by saying they wanted to end compulsory service, but it would require a phrased reduction in the compulsory service and structural changes to ensure a functioning military would still exist.

DPP releases poll; Heavyweights lay out positions

The DPP released a very interesting poll that actually seems like it would be mostly accurate: 83% of people believe the Taiwanese have a right to define the cross-strait status quo; 69% believe Taiwan is a soverign, independent country (and a good number of independence activists do not); nearly 85% believe that any cross-strait treaties regarding Taiwan's soverignty must be approved by the people via referendum; and nearly 71% support applying to the UN using the name "Taiwan."

This is good news as it puts the DPP well within the mainstream and should kill Ma's ideas of "One China, two regions" (一中兩區) and making a deal with China for "no independence, no war" (不獨不武).

Meanwhile, Yu Shyi-kun said that if he were president, he would scrap the "Five nos" pledge and change the national name to Taiwan; Su Chen-chang said he would not run in 2008 if he is charged (presumably in connection with a special allowance fund problem) and also said that rectifying the nation's name (from ROC to Taiwan) and normalizing the country had to be done a step at a time, although he added Taiwan is already an independent country called the ROC; and Frank Hsieh has coined the phrase "Taiwan Restoration" as a campaign theme. The phrase is borrowed from the Japanese "Meiji Restoration." Hsieh envisions a further modernization of Taiwan with three main themes: trust, qualitative change (in politics, economics, education, atmosphere, and culture), and establishing Taiwan as a Pacific country.

Hsieh's Restoration plan seems to sound good but appears to be short on details so far, so I won't go into it far. It does, seem to be the most balanced and inspiring skeleton platform/set of slogans laid out by any candidate yet.

民進黨:台灣主權相關協定 85%民眾主張公投 (CNA)


Mar 14, 2007

Election roundup (03/14)

DPP presidential contenders agree to chose nominee via negotiations (聯合報自由時報)
Move may avoid potentially divisive primary

All four major candidates, including Frank Hsieh, Annette Lu, Su Chen-chang and Yu Shyi-kun also signed an agreement not to run as an independent and confirmed their plans to conduct a debate for all the candidates before taking another opinion poll and/or conducting a DPP primary.

Former New Tide faction of the DPP calls for changes to public poll method (中時)

The legislators suggested that when polling about legislative candidates, the DPP would be better off asking if someone supported independence or unification would be better than asking who they had voted for in the last three elections.

Other legislators in the DPP, who seem not to be getting along so well with the former New Tide faction people, don't welcome their suggestion.

KMT to open registration for legislative primary next week (聯合中央廣播電臺)

The party tried to amend a rule for the primary to limit local mayors and township chiefs from registering, but did not manage to pass the amendment due to lack of quorum. The move was aimed at making it easier for current legislators to keep their seats.

The amendment stipulates that those currently serving in office may not register unless they've completed half of their current term of office. Because most local-level elections were held in December 2005, no local mayors or township chiefs will be able to run.*

(*Well, I dunno, maybe some can run, but I guess you'd have to have a pretty special circumstance that had you in office earlier).

Lai Ching-te wants to run for a legislative seat ... and for the Tainan mayorship

DPP legislator Lai Ching-te (賴清德) signed up today for the DPP primary for legislative seats. He also expressed interest in running for the office of Tainan mayor three years from now. He did not register for the legislative primary.

Wang says Wang-Ma and Ma-Wang aren't the only KMT ticket options (ETTV)

KMT presidential hopeful Wang Jin-pyng indicated his willingness to pair up with Wu Poh-hsiung or Lien Chan in a run for the presidency. He also indicated that a Ma-Wang ticket was an option the party had, perhaps softening recent comments that a Wang-Ma ticket was the obvious option.

Day Three of DPP legislative primary registration (中央社)

Now complete!

On the third day of registration, 26 people signed up for districted seats, while 8 signed up for an at large seat.

The DPP now has two candidates signed up for every district in Kaohsiung County, meaning the party will conducct opinion polls and perhaps an actual primary to decide who will run.

The at large registrees are: You Ying-lung (游盈隆), Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉), Chiou Yi-ying (邱議瑩), Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑), Tien Chiu-chin (田秋菫), Yu Jan-daw (余政道), and Chang Hsiu-chen (張秀珍).

In the north, we had these people register: Kao Chien-chih (高建智) in Taipei City-1; Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) in Taipei City-4; Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) in Kaohsiung City-2; Lin Chin-hsing (林進興) in Kaohsiung City-3; Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝) in Kaohsiung City-4; Kuo Wen-chen (郭玟成) in Kaohsiung City-5; Huang Chien-hui (黃劍輝) and (林淑芬) in Taipei Co.-2; Lin Shu-fenShen Fa-hui (沈發惠) in Taipei Co.-12; Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) in Kaohsiung Co.-2; Kuo Jung-chung (郭榮宗) in Taoyuan-2; Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) in Taichung Co.-3; and Kuo Chun-ming (郭俊銘) in Taichung Co.-5.

In the south, registrees include: Lin Yun-sheng (林耘生) in Nantou Co.-2; Chen Hsien-chung (陳憲中) in Yunlin-1; Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) and Cheng Kuo-chung (鄭國忠) in Tainan Co.-1; Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛) and Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) in Tainan Co.-2; Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) in Kaohsiung Co.-2; Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱) in Kaohsiung Co.-3; County Councilor Chen Huei-wen (陳慧文) and Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) in Kaohsiung Co.-4; Cheng Tsao-min (鄭朝明) in Pingtung-1; and Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) in Pingtung-3; Lu Po-chi (盧博基) in Hualien Co.; Michael Chai (蔡明憲) in Taitung City; Tang Bi-a (唐碧娥) in Tainan City-1; and Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in Tainan City-2.

Mar 13, 2007

Tues. news on DPP districting

During Tuesday's registration, 12 DPP members registered for a districted seat. No at-large seats were registered.

Here are the candidates who registered today. All are current legislators unless otherwise noted:

Taipei City District 1: Former Taipei City Councilor
Chen Cheng-teh (陳正德)
Taipei City District 3:
Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮)
Taipei City District 5: Former legislator Duan Yi-kan (段宜康)
Taipei County District 6:
Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧)
Taichung County District 1:
Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌)
Nantou County District 2:
Tang Huo-shen (湯火聖)
Chiayi County District 2: Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠)
Tainan County District 1:
Cheng Kuo-chung (鄭國忠)
Tainan County District 2: Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛)
Chiayi City District 1: Former Chiayi deputy mayor Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋)

民進黨立委初選第二天 十人完成登記 (CNA)

Musings on Wang

Over at The View from Taiwan, Michael quotes a recent Wang Jin-pyng statement that caught my eye:

Wang said that a Ma-Wang ticket would not be a threat to the DPP because the DPP has prepared itself for beating Ma in next year's presidential election. "

Only a presidential ticket led by a pro-localization candidate can help the KMT win the election," Wang said, without elaborating.
I think that's one of the first times Wang has specifically pointed to himself as part of the pro-localization faction (本土派). In the past, I think he has avoided taking the label. But this is very good news in my mind, as it confirms what I've always hoped, which is that Wang = Lee Teng-hui II, and he's preparing to make something happen.

I even found a quotation from an interview in the past where Wang denies being part of the pro-localization faction:

 王:由於我是台灣土生土長的政治人物,所以就被人稱作「本土派」,其實我是「全民派」。台灣人民都 是我服務跟奉獻的對象,也是我要爭取的對象,我從來沒有認為「本土」與否。「本土」與否是別人的看法。我在立法院所做的工作是「全國性」、全面性的。我是 不分族群、階層的,所以我是「全民派」不是「本土派」。

I think the most Wang-friendly and likely scenario goes something like this: Ma runs for president, Wang waits it out; Ma looses the race, Wang becomes default KMT leader; Wang takes localization reform steps after the election in the name of putting the KMT in a position to win.

On the other hand, Wang could get squeezed out if he doesn't go for the KMT chairmanship, or if he is so tough on running that he doesn't even take a VP slot.

If I were him, I'd bet on one more KMT loss in 2008 and take the reigns from there.

Tuesday morning headlines

On Taiwanese television this Tuesday morning, a few political topics were taking up most of the headlines.

KMT legislator Lin te-fu (林德福) noted a recent Ministry of Education National Security Council document which left a space before printing President Chen (陳總統). This was a practice that the KMT used to show respect for Chiang Kai-shek or Sun Yast-sen. Premier Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌) has said Chen had no intention of people "turning him into a god" and that nothing like this would ever be intentionally placed in any publication from any ministry again.

It's not clear to me whether or not the National Security Council's report intentionally left the space. The video I saw kept showing footage from one sentence where this had happened, and I'm increasingly convinced it only occured once in the document despite the implication from the reports that all over the place.

A second topic that got attention was the fact that Former Tainan deputy mayor Hsu Yang-ming (許陽明) was indicted on suspicion of embezzling municipal funds, and did not indict Tainan mayor Hsu Tian-tsair (許添財).

The Tainan District Prosecutor's office said Hsu Tian-tsair was not guilty because "used any receipts fraudulently to reimburse funds from his special allowance funds." They added that of the half of the allowance fund that did not require accounting oversight (receipts), it was impossible to probe if it had been spent on private or public matters and therefore it was impossible to probe.

That puts the the Tainan District Prosecutor's office in a different boat than the Taipei District Prosecutor's office, since Ma Ying-jeou was seemingly charged for something Tsu Tian-tsair got off for. The KMT predictably said this clearly shows Ma was improperly indicted. For his part, Hsu Yang-ming said that because he didn't put money directly into his account, he wouldn't be charged even using the same standard as Ma was charged with.

The Tainan office came out swinging in their defense, saying that former administrators should not be held accountable for what is clearly a defect of the system (i.e., a legal slush fund). [My personal opinion is that while this clearly is a systematic problem and these guys all thought putting the money in their account was OK, there's still a law against it. It can't be ignored just for the benefit of these administrators, but throwing almost everyone who's been a mayor or commissioner for the last few decades in jail would be a real pain too.]

For his part, Taipei District Chief Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) said the difference in judgement of the two cases stemmed from whether the special allowance fund had been fully spent or not. He was quoted as saying that the Tainan office believed the special allowance to essentially be an allowance [I believe he's implying it could be spent in any way], which was in fact different than the Taipei office's conclusion; but that the difference in opinion on this point would not mean that the conclusion of the two investigations would be different. He added any further disagreements would be decided by a higher authority.

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) pointed out that disagreements among prosecutors or legal experts was normal. He encouraged respect for the legal system, implying politicians shouldn't be after short-term votes at the expense of public trust in the system.

Less important topics included Hong Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) complaining how hard it would be for her to get the signatures required to run for chairman and the rather predictable striking down in the legislature of the name changes to Chunghwa Post to Taiwan Post by the KMT and PFP.

Wu says Wang should take chairmanship, leave presidency to Ma

Acting KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) suggested Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) run for party chairman and leave the presidential nominee seat to Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

This suggestion solves nothing, as Wang has shown less interest in the chairmanship than Wu Poh-hisung himself. Even Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) tried to encourage Wang to take the deal, but to no avail.

Wu offers Wang Jin-pyng a trade (Taipei Times)

Know your district!

As candidates start to register for different districts, I thought I'd remind everyone of the maps of the districts.

Here are the first draft maps for all districts:
附件 選舉區劃分簡圖

And here are the UPDATES, where some districts are changed.

附件 選舉區劃分簡圖

Update: I just noticed the CEC updated their maps, and I thought I'd update the links to show the new, correct versions.

Mar 12, 2007

More news on DPP districting

Fifteen DPP legislative hopefuls registered in 12 districted seats and three at-large seats on Monday. Registration will run until Friday.

Notably absent from the first day's registration was anyone in Kaohsiung City. Seven current Taipei area legislators also did not register, especially surprising given that the Taipei City branch of the DPP had heard from interested legislators about their intention to register in Taipei City Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Districts 6, 7 and 8 not open to registration since nobody in the DPP wants to run in Da'an, Xinyi or Wenshan and the party will need to assign candidates to run there.

DPP Taipei branch chair Lee Cheng-yi (李政毅) recapped who was interested in what Taipei city seats. Dist. 1 (Beitou/Tianmu): Chen Cheng-teh (陳正德), Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), Kao Chien-chih (高建智); Dist. 2 (Shihlin/Datong): Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Wang Shih-Cheng (王世堅); Dist. 3 (Zhongshan/N. Songshan) Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮); Dist. 4 (Neihu/Nangang): possibly Tommy Hsu (徐國勇) ; Dist. 5 Duan Yi-kan (段宜康).

Below is a list of those who registered. Hopefuls are current legislators unless otherwise noted. They were:

Taipei County District 3: Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻)
Taipei County District 4: Tsao Lai-wang (曹來旺), Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡)
Taipei County District 12:
Chen Tsiao-long (陳朝龍)
Taoyuan County District 1: County Councilor Chen Chi-mou (陳志謀)
Taoyuan County District 2: Perng Shaw-jiin (彭紹瑾)
Taichung County District 5:
Wu Fu-quei (吳富貴)
Tainan County District 3: Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅)
Kaohsiung County District 1: Yen Wen-chung (顏文章)
Hsinchu City: City Councilor Cheng Hung-huei (鄭宏輝)
Taichung City District 2: Hsieh Ming-yuan (謝明源)
Taichung City District 3: Wang Shih-hsun (王世勛)
At large: Hsueh Ling (薛凌), Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) and Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠).*
*Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) said yesterday he wants an at large seat but di
d not register.

民進黨立委初選 首日十五人完成登記 (CNA)

簡光甫成立競選總部要求雲縣二選區開放登記 (CNA)
民進黨立委登記開跑首日 高市無人登記 (CNA)
民進黨立委登記首日 北市七人領表無人登記 (CNA)
綠委初選登記 不分區與部分區域參選爆炸 (CNA)

Mar 11, 2007

Election roundup (03/11)

News related to the presidential election:

  • The four DPP presidential candidates met with President Chen on Friday to discuss how the party would choose the candidate. As the Taipei Times put it, "Chen Shui-bian's proposal that negotiations be used to pick a presidential candidate failed to persuade Yu Shyi-kun, who insisted a party primary had to be held." A second round of meetings will be held Tuesday.
  • Since Yu Shyi-kun is running for president, he has taken leave of his position as DPP chairman. In his place he appointed Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), a rather hard-headed legislator. This appointment was made without the party's Central Committee's approval and lots of legislators are upset Chai will be in charge for deciding who will run in which legislative districts. Chai also gets along very poorly with New Tide faction people. Rumor has it that dissatisfied DPP members want Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) to run for chairman.
  • Wang Jin-pyng has said that if Ma Ying-jeou and him are to run on the same ticket, it should obviously be a Wang-Ma ticket. Ma had said before hand that "listening to the public" made it obvious who should be who's VP, but he's too embarrassed to spell it out (implying it should be a Ma-Wang ticket). This is going to be tough to deal with, and I'm not convinced the problem can be negotiated successfully.
  • Honorary chairman Lien Chan is reportedly not happy with the performance of acting chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), saying he was not acting impartially enough (favoring Ma) and seemed not to be unconcerned enough with party unity ahead of the election.
  • Chairperson candidate Hong Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) faces an uphill battle trying to get enough signatures to run for the chair. She needs 30,000 valid signatures from KMT members. That should be time consuming and costly.

And now for news about the legislative election:
  • Since nobody is willing to run for Kaohsiung City District 1, the party will not open it for registration and will instead pick a candidate themselves. The party is trying to find a "gutsy" candidate to put up.
  • Taekwondo star and legislator Huang Chih-hsiung (黃志雄) has expressed his plans to run for reelection for Taipei County Disrict 5 (樹林市、鶯歌鎮、新莊市Ⅱ).
  • Former premier Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) has expressed his interest in running as a legislator without saying what district he wanted.

Mar 9, 2007

Pasuya makes run official

Former minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智) has made an official announcement about his intent to run in Kaohsiung City, Dist. 4.

Nothing new here. This has been reported both on this blog and elsewhere before.

In case you were wondering, his "English" name is an aboriginal name from the Tsou tribe (鄒族) and it means "the spirit which runs the fastest."

He will be competing with Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝) for the DPP nomination.

姚文智宣布參選高市四選區立委 (CNA)

Candidates in Kaohsiung County Dist. 4

Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) (left) and Kaohsiung County Councilor Jiang Lin-jun ( 江玲君) (right) have both indicated their interset in running for Kaohsiung County's fourth district, which is limited to Fengshan City (鳳山市).

Both are women and both have a base in Fengshan, so this should be a close fight battle. Not sure who will win.



Mar 8, 2007

Lu promises not to change national moniker if elected

Vice President Annette Lu has promised she would not further alter the nation's name from Republic of China if elected. This is pitting her to be the "Very green yet still blue- and China- friendly too" candidate, which will be different than current chairman Yu Shyi-kun who seems to be going after the hardcore pro-independence voters -- he did, after all, say that the "Five nos" pledge must be scrapped.

呂:當選後不會發動改國號 (中時)
游錫□附和扁談話 聲稱“四不一沒有”必須改掉 (中國新聞社)

KMT chairmanship election

Two candidates have declared their interest in the KMT chairmanship election. The first is current acting chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), which is not a surprise. But the second registered candidate came as a real shock. Hong Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), the "iron lady" of Taiwan, saying she was a "new candidate, with new thinking and new hope."

Hong had planned on running in Yunghe District of Taipei county. She no longer has any such plans in mind. However, she did *not* rule out running for an at large legislative seat, only for a districted seat. She ruled out running for any legislative seat at all.

My favorite memory of Hong is her hitting a police officer during the Depose A-bian rallies. And not getting into any trouble. Twice (well, really two police officers). Good game, Hong! Because protecting Ma Ying-jeou, attacking police officers and being an overall jerk are the kind of "new thinking" and "new hope" that Taiwan needs.

There's an editorial that mentions her from the Taipei Times here.

Update: check the comments for a great link to a story about Hong training her dog to bite when it heard "A-bian," and how the dog bit the reporter covering the story!

國民黨主席補選/爆冷門!「鐵娘子」洪秀柱摃上吳伯雄 (ETTV)


Recent visitors

I notice a few people from Stanford, U. Colorado, the Brookings Institution and USASSD have been visiting the site off and on lately.

First, I want to say I owe all of this traffic to Michael Turton's blog, and my ex-classmate over at Wandering to Tamshui. I've also gotten a little attention from Taiwanblogs, Luke Writes and Reddit. Thank you guys!

Second, I'm flattered and hope I can continue to provide information people will find timely, useful and interesting.

TSU's Chang Cheng-shuh to resign from party

Examination Yuan member Chang Cheng-shuh and is starting to look like it might start leaning on (張正修) (TSU) yesterday expressed his dissatisfaction with the recent change in rhetoric from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and said he will withdrawal from the party. He has asked his party comrades to consider the party's future, emphasising that the TSU seems more keen on war with the DPPthe DPP. He said this will result in a loss for the greens, victory for Chinese forces, and fears the TSU will give itself a bad name for the history books.

不滿台聯轉向 張正修退黨 (自由時報)


DPP to poll Greens for at large seats; Su defends Hsiao

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) decided yesterday to poll only voters who have voted for green parties in the last three elections when determining nominees for the '07 legislative election's at large seats.

The measure was pushed by Chai Trong-Rong (蔡同榮), and passed with little opposition.

The DPP has not decided what polling method it will use for the single-member district seats or for the '08 presidentail election. For the presidential poll, either a "green voters only" method will be used, or the questions will ask all potential voters how he or she likes each DPP candidate vs. each KMT candidate.

The opinion poll results will be weighed with party primary to choose a nominee.


Premier Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌) has come out to say that those legislators who have called Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) "China-khim" have hurt not only her reputation, but the party as a whole.

Hsiao is one of the members of the so-called "11 bandits," legislators who have have faced the threat of being marginalized since making public criticism about the DPP following the series of scandals last year.

The infighting has been mostly confined to legislative circles, and non-legislators have been reluctant to go along with the effort to marginalize the "11 bandits."

民進黨不分區初選 採蔡同榮版擴大排藍民調 (CNA)
中國琴?蘇揆:不只傷害蕭美琴也傷民進黨 (CNA)

Mar 7, 2007

Chen Hon-sing to run in Kaohsiung Dist. 2

Kaohsiung City Council member Chen Hon-sing (陳漢昇) has announced his intention to run in the party primary and be nominated for Kaohsiung City District 2. He will register on Mar. 19.

This despite the fact that he is currently being prosecuted for corruption charges where the prosecutor is asking for a 3 year, 10 month term.

Given both the overall squeeze in seats and his chances of winning with corruption charges, don't exepct Chen to actaully get the party's nomination.

高市第二選區國民黨立委初選 陳漢昇將登記