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May 30, 2007

S. Min script press conference today

After I made my blog post yesterday about the first 300 suggested standard Taiwanese characters, I told Liberty Times about it. They called the Ministry of Education at about 6:00pm or so for more information. About an hour later, the Min. announced they'd hold a press conference today on this topic. I take it they had been trying to keep it low key but decided that as long as the media was noticing, they'd best host a press conference on it.

So expect to see all the talking heads ranting about a few characters that you won't understand the first instant you see them. (Christ, what do people expect really? Nobody could read Japanese, English or Mandarin without being taught the system involved -- why do Taiwanese seem to expect that any good romanization or character standard would be instantly grasped in full by any S. Min speaker?)

Update: At the press conference, (2), (3), the Ministry said they also would be happy to cooperate with Karaoke and KTV companies to make sure the new "standard" characters get used on Taiwanese language subtitles.

I think its great the Ministry realizes that to make this stuff work, they need more than just the textbooks and romanization. Those two things are the foundation. Then they need teachers to understand them so they can teach them to the kids; and the parents need a website they can go to to easily learn the characters themselves. And you also need dictionaries.

But most of all, they'll need general cultural support on this -- when papers print Taiwanese in the future, or ads use Taiwanese characters, they should use these; the government should consider helping cartoons or other programming in Taiwanese have a S. Min characters subtitle option; and they need the Karaoke. If it can become popular and understood enough among every day people, it might not take a whole generation to create Southern Min literacy.

May 29, 2007

Possible CEC bill breakthrough

According to a UDN report, It seems the blues and greens may have come to a decision that would allow the CEC bill, and therefore the budget, to finally pass. Rumor has it the blues will be willing to write the law so that the a referendum (like the Party Assets Referendum) and an election can be held on the same day, and to ensure that the CEC simply checks the paperwork instead of debating whether to hold the elections on the same day or not.

But also supposedly, the other conditions the blues made for allowing this to happen are (1) the legislative election and presidential election will not be held on the same date, and (2) the DPP can only push a referendum for one of those two elections. The DPP is said to be considering this proposal at this time.

Update (reupdated link): the KMT will also be pushing two referendum topics, and it looks like they're modifying one: the two are the "Oppose corruption, protect state property" referendum「反貪腐、護國產」and the "raise Taiwan's international competitive advantage" referendum「提升台灣國際競爭優勢」. The name for the second referendum was chosen when it was decided "Promote Cross-straight direct flights"「推動兩岸海空直航」 would be seized on by th DPP and might not work.

I can't find any more info on those referendum topics yet.

DPP at large list won't be finished until July/August

I would have thought this would be a higher priority, but I suppose it takes time to prevent splits.

Standardizing Southern Min/Holo Taiwanese script

The ministry of education has finished their suggestion list for 300 commonly used Holo Taiwanese words for which a character is hard to pin point. It also comes with a handbook of use and complements the official Holo Taiwanese romanization system. In general, the new suggest list also is in line with the newly passed Langauge Development Law.

I suggest looking through the first link and seeing what you think of the list. ALso check out this badass dictionary.




May 28, 2007

The referendum boat

The KMT, terrified about the possibility that they will lose all their party assets or go bankrupt repaying the government for everything they stole, are already trying to reorganize the CEC on partisan lines to prevent the referendum from being held at the same time as a major election (not the stated reason, of course, but the only one they could really have besides wanting to certify that Ma can run no matter what.)

So now that the DPP referendum signature process is winding down, the KMT is going on one of their own, asking people to support their "Anti-corruption Referendum." The text of the referendum reads as follows:


The gist of the referendum is that "Do you oppose when a national leader or those around him are corrupt , and support establishing a body under the control of the Legislative Yuan to investigate those cases of corruption?"

Which really means: will you transfer some power that currently belongs to the Judicial branch to the Legislative one, just because the KMT would be able to more effectively assassinate the President's character that way?

The referendum makes no considerations about the structural changes this would mean, and the KMT isn't talking about them (why call it the "Anti-corruption referendum" instead of something like the "establish legislative investigative power referendum?")

The KMT referendum is a joke and I believe it won't get very far off the ground. But it also demonstrates a major contribution the DPP has made during this presidency. The referendum law, however imperfect it may be, and however abused it might be, is here to stay. And selling out Taiwan or crossing China's imaginary independence line will require a referendum. Because people will love the power the referendum gives them, and politicians will hopefully not dare to forget that.

Of course, if Ma's "no war for no independence" promise went through, and he signed something with China, he might manage to side step the referendum. And I believe in that case, he would pay a very serious price indeed.

No Confidence Vote?

The PFP has been throwing around the idea for a long time, but the KMT doesn't seem to be taking the bait -- they believe A-bian would call for new legislative elections and the blues would do badly in the early elections it would bring.

However, the KMT has set up a working group to study the idea and decide if it would be a smart political move.

I think this is just a lot of noise.

KMT redefines irony

The KMT appears, a little over confident and has a website up that counts down to the end of A-bian's term. But it's called "Say Bye To A-ben." There's also a little green man who gets slapped down by the second hand, dropping bags of money every minute. Of course, if it were a blue man he'd drop dead and still be clutching that .

My favorite part of their ad? Despite the easily available A-bian merchandise that has "A-bian Family" plastered all over it, the KMT doesn't know to spell A-bian . And neither does the Chinese media covering it, because as far as I can tell none of them have noticed the misspelling or called attention to it. It's not in the least surprising, but just demonstrates why the media may want to consult more people and do more research before launching into rants about romanization policy.

Wang likely to decline VP slot

The KMT is bracing itself for the fact that Wang is very unlikely to accept a VP slot.

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker yesterday said that efforts to form a presidential ticket with former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as the presidential candidate and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) as the vice presidential candidate were "a hopeless cause."

This obviously comes as no surprise. Wang seems to still be biding his time for a run, whether it's when Ma loses in '08 or if he can't run in '08 for another reason.

The future of the "bandits"

Those "11 bandits" who didn't do so well in the DPP primary may have a shot left after all. The DPP would like to recruit them and probably their standard of "political assasins" (hot babes and . . . hot babes, really. That's all) to run in the seventeen districts that the DPP's chances are seen as worse.

Many of the "bandits" have not responded positively:

Asked how they would respond if the party leadership decided to summon them to run in "tough electoral zones" where the odds are against DPP candidates, at least four of a group of DPP members dubbed the "11 bandits" by their critics reacted with indifference or made sarcastic remarks.
Strategically, it makes sense that you want the candidates with the widest appeal running in the most competitive districts. But I think you have several problems here: (1) the party has not done much to defend the reputations of the "bandits," and even basically left them to the wolves, so the normal green support base could be less inclined to turn out for them; (2) the candidates themselves will probably find their "reversal of fortunes" to be insulting, though will grab the chance to save his or her career; and (3) I don't know if blue approval of an anti-A-bian green candidate will transfer into a green vote.

I guess we'll have to see what happens.

The Taiwan KMT

Last Friday, I was talking to a friend of mine that suggested we establish a party officially called the Taiwan Nationalist Party (台灣國民黨) to prevent the Chinese Nationalist Party (中國國民黨), or KMT, from being able to change their name. In the past the idea of renaming the KMT has been thrown around, and if they suffer another presidential election defeat they might be inclined to consider it more seriously.

My friend's idea is we should get this party name registered so the KMT would not have such an easy time changing their name if they decided to. I thought it was brilliant. And some one's beat us to it.

The Taiwan KuoMinTang became the 126th officially registered political party. They are also making the almost ridiculous claim that their name is not meant to be confused the Chinese KMT because it should be segmented differently 台灣國 --民黨, not 台灣 -- 國民黨, which roughly makes the meaning the "Nation of Taiwan's People's Party" instead of the "Taiwan National People's Party." (Just lost the link to this, but it was a China Times article.)

May 26, 2007

If I have to see Chiu Yi again before his term is over ...

I will probably become physically ill.

KMT plotting Chiu Yi amnesty: DPP (Taipei Times)

May 25, 2007

Legislator Quality

The new election system for the seventh Legislative Yuan has raised hopes that competent, level-headed legislators will be favored by both parties and voters over the boisterous personalities that have for so long dominated headlines. The halving of the number of legislative seats from 225 to 113 was expected to root out the worst of the lot, while replacing multi-member districts with single-member districts seemed to favor moderate candidates.

Reality has not kept up with the expectations of reform.

First, the nominations process strongly favored incumbent legislators in both parties. In mid-March, just months before the Nationalist Party (KMT) primary moved into full swing, party regulations were amended (amendments never passed; thanks YSL) so that any elected official who hadn't finished half of his or her current term could not register to run for a new office. The amendments aimed to reduce the chances incumbents would run as independents if not nominated. Around 30 recently-elected city and county councilors and township chiefs who expressed interest in the race were unable to run in the primary. Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) did not similarly amend regulations, the final result was essentially the same. Of 77 would-be DPP lawmakers, only 16 of those who even registered are not current legislators.

Second, both parties' also were very generous to their attack dogs and less moderate candidates. In March, just before former legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) was sent to jail for leading an attack on a Kaohsiung government office in 2004, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other leading KMT figures were calling for him to be the first man on the at-large list. On the DPP's side, nominees were chosen by averaging weighted results of a vote by party members (who make up only one percent of Taiwan's population) and an opinion poll that excluded blue-leaning voters. This assured legislators popular with the base won out over legislators well-liked by moderate voters. Just note the fate of most of the so-called "11 bandits" or the victory of Ma-basher Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) over Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴).

Further, incompetent legislators did well in the nominations process. Of the 12 DPP and KMT legislators given a failing grade by the Taipei Society based on attendance, conduct, secondary employment and bill propositions, a shocking eight have been nominated (two may yet have a chance). Of the three remaining legislators who didn't make the grade, one -- Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) -- lost his nomination to legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳), who also holds the distinction of receiving failing marks.

On the bright side, competent legislators also earned nominations. Citizen Front, an NGO which promotes legislative reform and civic awareness, endorsed 13 candidates across party lines. So far, seven of them have been nominated and at least two others are rumored to be favorites for other important positions. Nevertheless, the fact that a much higher proportion of legislators who are better at getting headlines than they are at passing laws were nominated over their more capable counterparts does not inspire confidence.

Neither the primary process itself nor the final nominations improve the chances that the next legislature will be any more well-behaved or productive than the current one. In fact, the prospect of corrupt or incompetent "super-legislators" doubling their share of power still looms large. But the ultimate decision will be made by voters, and it they who must decide the ultimate quality of the seventh legislature. May they vote carefully.

May 24, 2007

I've been busy with my wedding and showing my folks around, but will try to get things back up to normal next week!

May 18, 2007

May 12, 2007

Another map update

In the map, I've added links to Legislative Yuan and Wikipedia data for candidates in competitive districts.

I've also decided Nantou-2 and Pingtung-2 should count as up in the air instead of pro-green (there was only a 6% difference in the vote with almost 17% of votes going to independents), but I still don't think any other districts count as competitive.

This brings the total count of competitive districts to 12.

  • Taipei County -2, -3, -6 and -10
  • Yunlin-1
  • Taichung County-2, -4, and -5
  • Taichung City-3
  • Nantou-1, Nantou-2
  • Pingtung-2

New Fisher/Farmer Association amendments

The Taipei Times was the only one to report on this today among the English papers. Apparently there is a law that was even more important than the CEC bill or the annual budget, so the KMT made it a top priority:

The pan-blue camp proposed amendments to the Farmers' Association Law (農會法) and Fishers' Association Law (漁會法), which both cleared the legislature yesterday.

The revised amendments canceled the three-term limits for secretary-generals with the associations and lowered requirements for them to renew their employment.

They also stipulated that association staff standing trial would not be relieved of their posts until a final verdict was delivered in their cases.

In other words, the amendments had a single purpose: to curry favor with the current secretary-generals, who obviously pull a lot of weight among the Farmers' Associations and Fishers' Associations in each county. The KMT's people hold 70% of these offices nation-wide!

The goal is to help those secretary-generals to wield significant long-term power, which makes them good friends and easier to buy off, and to help protect them from prosecution in the cases where they are involved in shady deals. And they often are: "In the 2001 farmers' association election, 555 cases of vote-buying, violence, and violation of the election laws, involving 951 people, were sent to the court, an increase of 157 cases (42 people) compared with the 1997 election."

The blues also managed to push through this:

Meanwhile, the pan-blue camp yesterday also triumphed in a vote on amending the Audit Law (審計法) which is aimed at clearing embezzlement allegations against KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), to a second reading.

Ma was indicted on corruption charges after he allegedly wired half of his monthly special allowance fund directly into a personal account during his term as Taipei mayor from 1998 to last year.

The amendment says that all special allowances claimed by officials by the end of last year should be seen as "substantial subsidies" so decriminalizing the case.

Also yesterday, an amendment to the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法), calling for the establishment of an absentee voting system and putting a ban on holding national elections and referendums on the same day was sent to second reading.

While amending the audit law probably won't be able to affect the course of Ma's case (after all, I don't think you can really do this stuff ex post facto), the progress of the recall law amendment is a demonstration their unadulterated of the party assets referendum being held on the same day as the presidential election because it might focus attention on the KMT's theft of massive amounts of private and public property. Holding referendums and elections together is, after all, quite normal, as well as cost-saving. It simply doesn't benefit the KMT in this case, and they fear referendums in general anyway.

I wouldn't say the KMT is getting desperate; I think they're playing every card they have to try and win in '08, though just how successful the moves will be remains to be seen.

Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌) resigns

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang has resigned, less than a week after losing his party's primary for the 2008 presidential election.

Mr Su said he had resigned to allow President Chen Shui-ban to "strategise in the new environment" during his final year in office.

Mr Su was defeated in the Democratic People's Party election by Frank Hsieh, whom he succeeded as premier in 2006.

The president has said will announce Mr Su's successor later on Saturday.

蘇揆請辭獲總統首肯 將深自反省傾聽民眾聲音

May 11, 2007

Map analysis: Blue 38, Green 23, 13 in air

Updated to reflect the two districts that I should have labeled as competitive.

This was the conclusion I came to now that the map is complete (well, basically complete. I'll still improve it). The 73 districted seats do not look like they'll split in favor of the DPP at all, so they might as wells top talking about getting a majority in the next legislature.

What of the KMT plans for a super majority? If the KMT wins roughly half of the 34 at large seats (a reasonable expectation considering the vote should split fairly evenly), that's 17 seats. Let's also assume they get all 6 of the aboriginal seats and just over half of those "up in the air" seats (7).

That's 68 113 seats, only 60% of the seats and not the 2/3 majority they want. In fact, even if they got all 13 of what I believe to be competitive districts, they'd still only have 74/113 seats (65.4%). So they shouldn't be able to pull it off.

I guess it's illegal to be involved in an election betting ring, but it sure looks fun at this point ...

Legislators sorta behaving themselves

They avoided using fists today, it seems. Though the mother's day song is weird.

More map progress from last night

I got a few more things on the map done last night. Kaohsiung City and parts all of Taipei County were finished.

However, I didn't want to run the numbers yet from the last legislative election in Taipei County (no time). So I used the common knowledge of to which party a district leans to make the judgements (but included references).

I've also added TSU candidates in brown.

Here's the list of what I've so far determined to be the most districts:

  • Taipei County-2
  • Taipei County-3
  • Taipei County-6
  • Taipei County-10
  • Taichung County-2
  • Taichung County-4
  • Taichung County-5
  • Taichung City-3
  • Nantou County-1
  • Yunlin County-1
... and that's it.

Remember though, the DPP will probably only pick up 2 or 3 of those Taipei County competitive districts (they are pretty strong in Taipei County-12).

May 10, 2007

KMT nominates in super-hot Yunlin County-1

As the map indicates, this is a highly competitive district, so each party wants the best candidate they can find. The KMT seems to have picked a good one, nominating Chia-chun "Alice" Chang (張嘉郡), the just-married daughter of former Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味). [source: CNA wire article]

She'll have to compete against DPP legislator Chen Hsien-chung (陳憲中). Besides once getting punched by Chen Chao-jung (陳昭容) in the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, Hsien-chung has some good quotes:

"If only the bills sponsored by Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and People First Party [PFP] can be put on the agenda, then it isn't necessary to have the Procedure Committee."

"It's been 60 years [since the 228 incident]. As time goes by, it gets more difficult to investigate [who bears] responsibility. The amendment is imperative, as there will be no forgiveness without truth," DPP Legislator Chen Hsien-Chung (陳憲中) said.

This should be a tight race!

HK CCP sympathetic paper: Blue splits a serious concern

Read it for yourself if you'd like. The article is a few months old, but it mentions that the Blue camp was quite worried about maverick candidates running to the green camp in or running as independents in Taipei County-1, -8, -11; Taoyuan County-1; Hsinchu City; Miaoli County-2; Taichung County-2; Changhua County-1, -3; Penghu.

Legislator Performance (poor)

Great article in the Taipei Times today:

Twenty-four legislators from across party lines received a failing grade for their overall performance in an evaluation report made public by a politics watchdog yesterday.

The Taipei Society imposed four benchmarks in evaluating the performance of legislators in the third and fourth sessions of the latest legislative term. They were attendance, conduct, secondary employment and bill propositions.

Seven Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators received a failing grade for their overall performance. They included Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), Chau Lai-wang (曹來旺) and Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).

The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) also had seven legislators with a failing grade for overall performance. They included Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), Lin Pin-kun (林炳坤) and Lee Ho-shun (李和順).

Yen scored zero for attendance, after he attended only three committee meetings during the third session and none in the fourth.

Other NPSU members who failed to attend any committee meetings during the fourth session were Lee, May Chin (高金素梅) and Yang Chung-tse (楊宗哲).

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had five legislators receiving a failing grade. They included Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), Chen Hsiu-ching (陳秀卿) and Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教).

Four People First Party (PFP) legislators were also on the list. They were Lin Hui-kuan (林惠官), Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國), Lin Chung-Te (林春德) and Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟).

Huang Cheng-Che (黃政哲) was the only Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) member to receive a failing grade for his overall performance.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) topped the improper conduct chart. He was followed by Wang, DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶), DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) and Independent Legislator Li Ao (李敖).

In terms of holding a second job, the DPP led the way with 14 legislators holding jobs ranging from hospital owner to director of the board of a communications company. It was trailed by the KMT (11), the PFP (7), NPSU (7) and the TSU (2).

President of the Taipei Society Hawang Shiow-duan (黃秀端) said the publication of the evaluation report was an attempt to sway the legislative primaries of political parties as the year-end legislative election will adopt a new electoral system.

I'd link directly to the report, but it doesn't seem to be on their website yet.

Steady map progress

Update: I've added analysis of Kaohsiung County and Tainan (both city and county) to the map. Now, only parts of Taipei County and Kaohsiung City remain to be done.

Once they're finished, I'll let you know.

Variables in PFP-KMT cooperation; DPP nominations

Just to your refresh your memory:

  • The PFP demanded the KMT hand them seven seats for the next legislative election.
  • The KMT offered four, then five seats including Kaohsiung City-1, Hualien, and Taipei County-2, -4 and -7. The PFP expressed satisfaction (there was some confusing statements about Taichung City-3).
  • The PFP nominated people in twelve districts, saying they'd work with the KMT on any remaining conflicts.
So yesterday, the KMT central committee approved only four of those seats. They said they wanted to run another public opinion poll before finalizing Taipei County-2 and for Taichung City-3. The PFP seemed only marginally upset, and made weak calls for sincerity from the KMT and promised to protect PFP comrades. We'll see what happens in the end.

Meanwhile, DPP legislators decided not to run in five districts which had previously been contested by two potential DPP candidates. That means the DPP won't have to run opinion polls in these districts. All to have been a response to rather decisive margins in the party primary phase of the nominations (though in one case the difference was only five percent). Those districts and the remaining candiates are: Taipei County-7 (莊碩漢) and -12 (陳朝龍); Taoyuan County-2 (郭榮宗); Changhua County-3 (林重謨); and Tainan County-1 (葉宜津).

May 9, 2007

Next step in the primaries

The DPP will be taking their opinion polls between May 11 and June 17. For districted members, the opinion poll will count for 70% of their nomination while the party member vote counted 30%; for at large members, the breakdown is 60% / 40%.

The KMT, almost miraculously, only has one district where two legislators are interested. (No wonder I couldn't find a list of how their legislators registered for nominations! They must have done a lot of backroom dealing first to get to this point so early in the game.) Their opinion poll will be taken between May 16 and May 18.

I'll note some DPP people, including Hsieh himself, have talked about making a legislative majority their goal for '07. I think that's a very dangerous goal they will almost necessarily disappoint themselves. :(

Video from yesterday's brawl

Here's the video (picked up from a comment over at The View from Taiwan)

And the articles:
Taipei Times
Taiwan News
China Post (funniest article)

China Times poll: Ma 33%, Hsieh 24%

With a solid 25% saying they're undecided.

China Times polls are historically strongly biased toward blues (I'm reminded of an editorial they had complaining about the "god-like accuracy"(神準) of Liberty Times polls and implying they had somehow rigged the elections). But it's an interesting poll. I think it shows this is going to be a real close one.

PFP nominees; map update

The PFP nominated 12 people yesterday, including a few that were outside their agreement with the KMT; they promise they will continue to negotiate with the KMT about those though, and some/most of the non-KMT approved nominees will probably end up not running.

I've also updated the Legislative Districts map to include the KMT and PFP nominees (I got my hands on the full list of KMT nominees).

SETTV "fake" news

I'm not particularly interested in this issue as it seems to be a lot of hot air over what was probably an honest mistake, but since it's been a the lead article on UDN, here are some different takes on it:

三立造假/陳雅琳不認錯 反指阮美姝未告知非228畫面
三立造假/阮美姝:有授權簽字 三立應道歉

'Blood Stains Keelung Harbor' used to fabricate 2-28 massacre (China Post)
KMT slams SET-TV over documentary (Tapei Times)
SET TV criticized for attributing incorrect footage to 228 Incident (Taiwan News)

May 8, 2007

Legislative Districts Map

If you love maps and/or legislative districts, be sure to check out my new Google map on the Districts for the 7th Legislative Yuan 第七屆立法院選舉

So far it is still a work in progress, but here's what I provide:

  • English and Chinese district names (Taichung County-4 台中縣 第四選區)
  • Names of officially nominated candidates (color coded by party)
  • In some districts from the center of the country, the way the vote would have broken down last legislative election if the district had been drawn in the current shape.
  • The strict definition of what areas are in the district (villages, cities, or city districts)
  • A color coded balloon to indicate which way the district leans (blue, green, or aqua for "too close to to call" (districts which I haven't looked at closely enough yet are aqua balloons with black dots).
So far the shortcomings of the map are:
  • I couldn't draw the district shapes. OK, well I could have, but that would have taken forever. This is good enough.
  • Candidate names are characters only for now, no romanization.
  • some areas in Taipei that should be labeled as 里 are labeled 裡 instead. That's the fault of a Google version of some PDF I was cutting and pasting information from, and I didn't want to correct it myself (yet).
  • I don't have any KMT candidates listed yet because I haven't been able to get my hands on a complete nomination list.
  • I lack hard data on how most of Taipei County, Tainan and Kaohsiung lean (by district, that is), but this should be fixed in due time as the election approaches and more analysis and polls come out. The good thing is I have data for all other areas.
  • I originally made some omissions when numbering the districts, so a few places (sorry Taichung County-5!) are at the bottom of the list instead of with the other districts in the same county/city.
I invite everyone to take a look and give their suggestions. If you want, you can even have the KML data that would allow you to update/modify information on the map yourself. Just ask or use the KML button in Google maps.

Some articles

A couple of interesting articles today. The first, an article titled The Blue and the Green out of the Weekly Standard. I'm no fan of the publication, but the article seems to be fairly well written.

Second, the contest for DPP nomination is officially over because the DPP amended rules to avoid the opinion poll and all three other candidates officially stepped down. So enough of the speculation that this isn't over already.

The Annie Huang AP article pointed out at The View from Taiwan: Hsieh Win: Media Round-Up isn't bad, but the headline and opening line is comical: what was surprising about the Hsieh win? He was clearly the favorite.

There seems to be a feeling that Hsieh will be a more acceptable figure to China, and it doesn't seem to just be just Western imaginination. Chinese scholars are dropping the same sort of hints in interviews, though I'm not sure what they're so pleased about. Frank Hsieh might believe the constitution is straight forward about One China, but there's not a chance in hell he'll end up towing the line Beijing would like to see.

And finally, there's an article that a former Chinese professor wrote on Democratic Socialism being the only way forward for China a couple of months ago for a Chinese periodical called 炎黄春秋. It was published there, but the Chinese media seems to be ignoring it even as it draws plenty of media attention in Hong Kong (and some in Taiwan).

Primary Results: In Depth (2)

Moving on the the legislative side of the equasion which is far more interesting (full raw details here at the DPP site):

Here are the graphics for the raw results, also from United Daily News (Liberty Times printed these in the paper, but they can't be viewed online). From left to right, they are the results for at large nominees, district nominees, and how the so called "11 bandits" fared (very poorly). In total, 46 of 73 districted nominees were chosen (though 27 still must go through the opinion poll stage). The final decisions for all legislative nominees won't be made until late June (6/20).

I'll be incorporating data on each candidate into a Google Map that will show each district, list what areas are in that district and show the candidates from each party who will run in that district. I will also add the information on how those districts would have voted (blue-green) during the last legislative election if the district had been thus-drawn.

I'm also going to link you here to some of the good analysis that can be found in Liberty Times.

不分區立委初選 深綠出頭天
(Check out all the other articles linked on the right side of the page to see more details on the legislative results.)

In related news, Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office Spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) said investigators yesterday had summoned 10 people for questioning on suspicion they bribed voters in yesterday's DPP poll.

Investigators said that people around Shan Feng Temple (三鳳宮) and in Gushan District (鼓山區) were suspected of accepting cash from candidates' campaigners in exchange for their votes, Chung said.

May 7, 2007

Primary Results: In Depth

As I wrote before, Frank Hsieh won the primary. Today there is a joint news conference by all the candidates to express their solidarity behind Hsieh. Su Chen-chang put an ad on page A5 of the Liberty Times to thank his supporters and call for solidarity.

Remember, they could have dragged this out and forced another round of opinion polls before having a final candidate, but thankfully the candidates all saw the writing on the wall and decided to cut the crap. Though the DPP still must hold the opinion poll and spend the money for it, thanks to party regulations.

The final vote count was:
Frank Hsieh 44.66% (62,849 votes)
Su Chen-chang 33.40% (46,994 votes)
Annette Lu 6.16% (8,666 votes)
Yu Shyi-kun 15.78% (22,211 votes)

The United Daily News (聯合報) also did a poll last night to see how the Ma/Hsieh matchup looks. Their polls are always wildly inaccurate since green people tend to lie or not answer their poll, but the polls are still fun to look at.

May 6, 2007

Hsieh wins

After Hsieh came out on top of the party member part of the primary, both Yu and Su pulled out of the race before the opinion poll was even taken and said they were throwing their support behind Hsieh.

I don't know if Lu's said anything. More details for you tomorrow, including some legislative results.

The Wang-Ma hip hop crew

I don't think an American politician would be caught dead wearing this, but I also wish they'd be willing to wear such things.

May 5, 2007

DPP Primary tomorrow

And boy, am I excited.

Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is hinting that tomorrow's vote is not only a vote on A-bian as well as her. In other words, a vote for Lu is a vote for A-bian. Not going to work.

Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) believes he can get over half of the vote. I'm not so optimistic for him, though he has consistantly been more confident of his support among the party rank and file than the public at large.

Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌) is spending the day talking about concrete policies, saying he would like to upgrade the status of bicycles and praising the upgrade in Taipei County's status to special municiplaity while promising other areas won't suffer in funds. Good for him.

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is brushing off suggestions that A-bian accidently let it slip that he's a Su suporter last night. Those reports are based on the fact that during an interview last night, A-bian was listing slogans from each candidate and went a little too far when reciting Su's. Su's slogan is "If Taiwan wants to win, we should vote for Su Chen-chang." A-bian went as far as "Su" in that slogan before cutting himself off ( 「台灣如果要贏,要選蘇…」). I believe he would never intentionall back a person the day before the primary, so I think Frank's right.

Other than that, Hsieh is complaining that Su won't investigate who leaked the document related the his investigation, while the China Times reports the Ministry of Justice says they "can't investigate." I'm a little confused about the reasoning they use as explained in the article.

Other than that, the legislative primary is also being held at the same time tomorrow. I'll be sure to update you as nominees are decided on!

May 3, 2007

KMT nominations

Update: There are still districts where both PFP and KMT candidates want to run that have not yet been resolved between the parties, and the KMT noted they may use further negotiations or opinion polls to resolve those districts. Considering what the KMT has already given up though, I don't expect these minor issues to create any major problems.

I've also examined the KMT nominees listed below and found most of them are for districts the DPP had either noone or very few people register in.

The KMT has now approved a total of 32 candidates to run for them. The remaining candidates will be announced in two more phases on 5/23 and 6/13 respectively (all Wednesday). most have been lsited before; a full list of nominees seems hard to come by.

Here's the information in the CNA article:

中常會通過的黨員投票的九個選區包括:台北市四(蔡正元)、台北市六 (李慶安)、台北縣五 (黃志雄)、台北縣八 (張慶忠)、新竹市 (呂學樟)、台中縣四 (徐中雄)、台中市一 (蔡錦隆)、彰化縣三 (鄭汝芬)、南投縣二 (林明溱)。


至於二十三個只有一人登記或協調產生的立委提名人,包括台北市一選區 (丁守中)、台北市五選區 (林郁方)、台北市七選區 (費鴻泰)等人。另外,也通過國民黨秘書長吳敦義代表國民黨參選南投縣第一選區

Frank Hsieh paper articles

Taipei Times -- Hsieh denies corruption allegations raised by `Next'
China Post -- Frank Hsieh denies corruption charges
Taiwan News -- Report says Hsieh received illegal donations

May 2, 2007

Frank Hsieh corrupt?

This could be a huge piece of news, since Hsieh is the DPP favorite for the nomination. The news was first reported in Next (a tabloid weekly). Prosecutor Luo Chien-hsun (羅建勛) has written a preliminary report which is sure that Hsieh took illegal political donation(s).

The prosecutor's office would not comment today much since the investigation isn't finished, but admitted the document reported in Next is real and that prosecutor Luo Chien-hsun's (羅建勛) thinks Hsieh is obviously guilty (the exact quotation was apparently 「應可認可、犯行明確」). The office emphasised that Luo's report was his opinion only, preliminary and not an indictment (see CNA article 謝長廷犯行明確?高雄高分檢:檢座個人心證).

Hsieh supporters are calling it a political stunt, pointing out there wasn't even a political donations law in 1991 when the illegal donations were supposedly made, so how could Hsieh be guilty? He also pointed out that Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) and others had been charged with the same crime during Hsieh's run for the Taipei mayor, and that they were cleared of charges.

My analysis is that since the details in the weekly's article seem mostly correct (though it is hard to believe they go their hands on the prosecutes related files), Hsieh could be in real trouble here (after all, there is a running investigation) and that he should proceed very carefully. The DPP does not want an indicted candidate running against Ma.

Update: the magazine was Next, not Scoop.

Wang / Ma business

This afternoon, the KMT will nominate Ma as its presidential candidate. Ma has said he is working hard to get in touch with Wang Jin-pyng, who apparently ignored about 30 calls from Ma yesterday. When pressed by media, Wang said there was no hurry to decide and that the two of them should meet with Lien Chan first. Another report says Wang is in private discussions with Lien over exactly how to proceed.

Who knows what exactly is going to happen here, especially with a Ma indictment being a real possibility.

Final word on PFP-KMT cooperation?

As Raj pointed out in the comments on the last post, the PFP did not support the bill (due to some prodding from James Soong) that would have prevented an indicted Ma from running. Of course, it would have been a good bill -- not because it would keep Ma out, but because why should officials indicted on corruption charges get to run for high office?

In exchange, the PFP continued to ask for 7 seats, saying they now expected the KMT to scratch their back. The KMT relented and gave up first four, and then five districts to the PFP: Taipei County-2, -4, and -7; Hualien; and, according to the Liberty Times, will not nominate in Kaohsiung County-1 either. In regards to Taichung City-3, the KMT and PFP seem to plan to allow an opinion poll to decide who will be nominated.

For their part, the PFP seems satisfied even though the concessions fall short of their original demands. It is not yet clear how many at large seats nominations will go to PFP nominees, but my guess is two-three.