Tue, Dec 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

2020 Elections Analysis: Parties in legislature weigh in on election prospects

By Lin Liang-sheng, Yang Chun-hui and Dennis Xie  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Central Election Commission (CEC) Deputy Chairman Chen Chao-chien stands next to a notice announcing Jan. 11’s legislative election at the CEC in Taipei on Nov. 8.

Photo courtesy of the Central Election Commission

Officials from the four political parties that are represented in the Legislative Yuan have weighed in on the parties’ prospects of winning legislative seats in the Jan. 11 elections.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chances of winning more regional legislative seats have increased over the past three months, party sources said on Sunday, citing two controversies as catalysts.

The first was the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision to place retired general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) at No. 4 on its list of legislator-at-large nominees, despite criticism over his attendance of an event in Beijing in 2016 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen’s (孫逸仙) birth and standing for the Chinese national anthem, they said.

The second was KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) sustaining “bruised fingers” during what DPP sources described as a political stunt that wasted healthcare resources.

Chen was taken to the emergency room at National Taiwan University Hospital on Dec. 6 after her fingers were pinched in a door during a protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where several KMT legislators and city councilors tried to force their way into the ministry compound to demand that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) launch an investigation into the suicide last year of diplomat Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), the then-director-general of the Osaka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Japan.

The latest polls show that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking re-election for the DPP, has also boosted the prospects of the party’s legislative candidates, the sources said, describing the situation as a “hen leading its chicks.”

Tsai has a double-digit percentage point lead against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, in several regions, which has boosted the party’s confidence of winning a legislative majority, they said.

It is particularly important for Tsai to support the party’s legislative candidates in central and southern Taiwan, which used to be DPP strongholds, but became swing regions after Han’s election as Kaohsiung mayor last year, they said.

Meanwhile, KMT sources said the approval ratings of the party’s presidential and legislative candidates early this month exceeded those of the DPP candidates in its internal polls.

Taipei prosecutors’ indictment on Dec. 2 of Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如) over alleged links to Su’s suicide played a role in the change, they said.

Yang, a former campaign aide to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), is accused of hiring people to influence public opinion online, and attack or deride opponents.

Yang allegedly directed an online campaign to defend Hsieh by accusing Su of dereliction of duty and failing to help Taiwanese stranded at Kansai Airport in Osaka when Typhoon Jebi hit Japan on Sept. 4 last year.

The accusations stemmed from a fabricated report that the Chinese embassy in Japan sent buses to evacuate Chinese stranded at the airport. Although the report was later proven to be false, it sparked criticism of perceived inaction by the ministry.

The Internet team allegedly called Su and other branch personnel “festering remnants of the party-state ruled by the KMT,” and wished death upon them, which some said might have contributed to Su committing suicide at his residence in Osaka eight days later.

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