The government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have provoked all kinds of conspiracy theories with their recent decision to cancel or postpone a number of foreign delegations that had been lined up to observe the upcoming elections.
Many of those affected apparently expressed concern that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could be preparing the ground for some serious pre or post-election shenanigans, should President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) be trailing or actually lose the battle of the ‘Yings’ to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Jan. 14.
Maybe people are reading too much into it, but when a supposed trip to observe an election is postponed until after said election, then one would have every right to be a little concerned. Kind of defeats the purpose, wouldn’t you say?
One theory (my own) is that the money saved will be used for more immediate and pressing election-related matters — such as paying for the trips of overseas KMT supporters who will actually come back to vote, rather than foreigners who can’t vote, largely sympathize with the enemy and only cause trouble anyway.
This makes perfect sense from a KMT point of view. Even if our KMT overlords were thinking of some sneaky ballot-box stuffing, it would be pretty difficult to get away with such antics in today’s increasingly wired world — with bloggers and members of the public armed with cellphone cameras lurking on every corner.
However, if the Central Election Commission were to suddenly announce two days before polling that it was going to erect 2m high fences around polling stations, or if the KMT were to declare a win in Greater Tainan, then maybe others would also start to get a little suspicious.
Even so, it’s hard to understand why the KMT would want to bother with such extreme measures in the first place.
They would be better off waiting for an increasingly confident DPP to shoot itself in the foot (or the stomach, if you believe the KMT’s 2004 “Bulletgate” bullshit). It would seem as if the DPP is already obliging, given the recent furor over small, irrelevant orange things — persimmons, not the People First Party.
The DPP seems to have done itself some damage with its campaign calendar showing ridiculously exaggerated rock-bottom prices of various fruits — most notably persimmons at NT$2 per jin (600g) — while blaming Ma and the government’s policies for this and all of local farmers’ ills.
The KMT was quick to refute those figures, with KMT fossil-in-eternity Lien Chan (連戰) claiming that on the one occasion he actually visited a market with his mother — back when Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was still alive — he had seen persimmons going for NT$10 per jin. (OK, so I made up that last bit up, but you get my drift.)
Luckily for the DPP, this all seems to have happened far enough ahead of the vote that it will be long forgotten come next month.
Nevertheless, one can almost understand why the KMT would be considering some serious dirty tricks as, judging by the gravity of chief attack dog Chiu Yi’s (邱毅) latest expose, it seems the toupeed troublemaker may finally be losing his mojo.
Having caused DPP vice presidential candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) some discomfort with revelations about his Pingtung luxury farmhouse, Chiu’s latest bombshell is that Su’s wife went to a party that featured a male stripper.
Trouble is Su’s wife was just a guest at the party, not the host, and the party was ... 10 years ago. Shock, horror!
Su may have apologized (I don’t know why), but if that’s the best Chiu and his informants can come up with, then KMT headquarters better get on the phone with the printers pronto and order some extra ballot papers.
Joe Doufu is a Taipei-based satirist.
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