The scandal-ridden, controversial independent councilor Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄), who has been described as a "black gold" politician, was elected speaker of Kaohsiung City Council, Wed-nesday, thanks to the all-out support of KMT and PFP councilors.
Ever since the DPP caucus in the city council decided to support Chu, it has been criticized from just about every direction. Some of its party members even burned their party IDs to protest and not a few lawmakers denounced the caucus' decision. Internal and external moral pressure forced the DPP's Central Standing Committee to withdraw the caucus' resolution and field its own candidate.
How many votes Chu could garner in this speakership election became an indicator to examine whether the governing DPP still holds on to its ideals. Although it was just a local race, I believe all DPP supporters closely observed whether the party, founded to oppose black gold, would shoot itself in the foot.
The election results showed that the DPP's nominee Kao Tzeng-ying (高宗英) got 14 votes, all from his party colleagues. To supporters' relief, the DPP has not lost its soul-searching ability after all.
But an analysis of Chu's votes shockingly revealed that the biggest contribution to Chu's victory came from KMT and PFP councilors, who claim to have cut ties with black gold or boast about their clean images.
The Kaohsiung City Council is composed of 14 DPP, 12 KMT, 7 PFP, 2 TSU and 9 independent seats. The poll results showed that all the DPP councilors voted for their candidate Kao. The two TSU councilors voted for the TSU's Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴).
But among the 12 KMT and 7 PFP councilors, only the KMT's Lee Fu-hsing (李復興) and the PFP's Wu Yi-cheng (吳益政) voted for themselves. This means that in the 25 votes the independent Chu received, the KMT and the PFP contributed 11 and 6 votes respectively, with the remaining 8 votes coming from other independents.
If the pan-blue camp, with 19 seats combined, could have cooperated for the speakership, they would have been only four seats short of winning. Even if the camp had been unable to attract more votes from outside, it might have been able to win the speakership and deputy speakership by a relative majority in the second round of voting. But the two opposition parties seemed to lack interest in taking the helm of the council and instead jointly supported an independent councilor.
The DPP caucus' decision to support Chu is worth discussing, but so is that made by the party to, in the end, meet the expectations of society.
This reminds me of former US president Richard Nixon's TV speech when he was questioned about bribe-taking. He ran for the US vice presidency on the same ticket with Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. As the election campaign turned white-hot, rumors were spread that Nixon had received US$18,000 in bribes. To clear his name, he defended his integrity on TV. What touched the audience the most was his words about his wife Pat. He said, "Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat."
Although the DPP lost the mink coat of the council speakership and deputy speakership, it does have a respectable cloth coat woven of the threads of its core values of anti-corruption and opposing black gold.
Despite a secret ballot, the votes Chu received have laid bare the parties backing him, allowing people to recognize which party sides with black-gold politics. Since the KMT and the PFP, like Faust, did not hesitate to sell their souls, it is hoped that the media can use the same standards to examine these two parties as it does the DPP.
Chiu Li-li is a Tainan City councilor.
Translated by Jackie Lin
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