As Taiwanese ushered in the New Year with dazzling firework displays around the nation, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) continued counting down the days to its much-anticipated downfall.
The KMT’s fall from grace began months before the nine-in-one elections in November 2014 in which the once-overweening party lost nine out of the nation’s 22 cities and counties to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independents.
The unprecedented and disastrous defeat set alarm bells ringing for the KMT. However, it is this month’s presidential and legislative elections that could actually strip the party of its immense power, which has been built upon its total control of the presidency and the legislature.
If the latest poll released by the Cross-Strait Policy Association on Tuesday is an indication, the KMT is set to lose both the presidential office and its legislative majority. The survey found that even after the controversies surrounding KMT vice presidential candidate Jennifer Wang’s (王如玄) contentious sales of military dependents’ housing units have abated, KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) support rating has only rebounded by 2 percent. He is still trailing his DPP opponent, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), by an overwhelming 23 percentage points.
It also showed that of those polled, 33.5 percent identified themselves with the DPP, against 22.8 percent who sided with the KMT.
One question springs to mind given the results: What would Taiwan’s political scene be like if the KMT loses its clout and gradually becomes less of a factor? Surely the KMT would remain as the nation’s largest opposition party over the next four years, but its downfall could put an end to the nation’s long-standing political divide.
However, although the DPP seems to be gaining momentum, the prospect of it winning a majority in the Legislative Yuan does not look promising. That is primarily because voters are less likely to put all their eggs in one basket, meaning casting all three of their ballots — one for the presidential candidate, one for a legislative candidate and one for a political party — for the same party.
Taiwanese have learned the hard way that a party can wreak havoc if it has absolute power. Hence, they might vote for nonpartisan candidates or those representing smaller parties in the hope of creating other forces to check the powers of the DPP and the KMT in the legislature.
In addition to the People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union, whose attempts to gain enough seats to form party caucuses look like a surefire success, a few other smaller players are also expected to enter the legislature this year. They include the Republican Party, whose chairperson, Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩), has joined PFP presidential candidate James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) ticket; the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance; and the New Power Party, which is targeted at young people.
Such changes in the political arena could see more new parties emerge in rapid succession.
While the DPP stands to be the biggest winner in the potential post-KMT era, it should be mindful that a relatively large proportion of its supporters are young voters and those who have switched from the KMT because of what they see as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) failures to live up to expectations and factor public opinion into his policymaking.
It was only eight years ago when the DPP also hit rock bottom. The party might not have been able to pick itself up were it not for the emergence of youth and student power since early 2014.
What voters give, they can just as readily take away. The DPP should bear in mind the consequences of letting power go to its head and turning its back on the public. It might be easy to get to the top, but it is certainly much harder to climb back up after a fall.
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Astride an ascended economy and military, with global influence nearing biblical proportions, Xi Jinping (習近平) — general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), chairman of the Central Military Commission and president of the People’s Republic of China — is faithfully heralded, in deeds and imagery, as a benevolent lord, determined to “build a community of common destiny for all mankind.” Rather than leading humanity to this Shangri-La through inspirational virtue a la Mahatma Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, the CCP prefers a micromanagement doctrine of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guiding light. A doctrine of Marxist orthodoxy transplanted under a canvas