Web site xfuture.org, an electronic exchange at the Center for Prediction Markets at National Chengchi University, has voiced regret that the Central Election Commission (CEC) decided that the online prediction market constitutes an opinion poll and hence is barred from running election-related exchanges in the run-up to the Jan. 14 elections.
According to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法) and the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選罷法), political parties and individuals are not allowed to publish opinion poll results for presidential, vice presidential and legislative candidates in the 10 days leading up to election day. Violators face fines of between NT$500,000 (US$16,500) and NT$5 million.
Prediction markets are speculative exchanges, with the value of an asset meant to reflect the likelihood of future events. Virtual bids may be made on events, with the bidding price reflecting its probability.
Central Election Commission Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said on Tuesday that according to the interpretation of what constitutes an opinion poll passed by the commission, any kind of publication of a compilation of public opinion about a candidate or the elections constitutes an opinion poll according to the regulations in the two laws, regardless of how the information is compiled.
The Web site later issued a statement expressing regret over Teng’s remarks, adding that the commission had misunderstood the two acts and completely failed to understand the difference between market research methods and opinion polls.
“If this definition is used, then should every media outlet that’s compiling and reporting on information about public opinion about the candidates or the elections be told to stop as well?” the statement said.
However, out of respect for the commission, the nation’s highest election authority, the Web site said it had stopped trading in the elections on the prediction market as of 5pm on Tuesday.